Some walked slowly, and some needed the assistance of a wheelchair.
But residents of the Sunharbor Manor in Roslyn Heights joined nursing facility staff members and others last Thursday to help raise $8,000 in a walk/wheel-a-thon for the Long Island chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Michele Fishel, director of Therapeutic Recreation at Sunharbor, said the nursing home regularly holds fundraisers for various medical awareness groups, and chose to work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society because of the home’s increasing population of residents with MS in addition to the facility’s new equipment for MS treatment.
“We raised funds for nearly a month, sending letters to homes and letting people make donations,” Fishel said. “We covered a whole wall on the second floor of the nursing home with those slipper donation signs, the local businesses got involved and donated as well, and then of course our ownership always makes a generous donation.”
Between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Fishel said Sun Harbor staff, residents and their families walked a lap around the parking lot of the facility at 255 Warner Ave.
Those who were unable to walk on their own were assisted by a wheelchair.
“It was a beautiful day, so when residents were done with their lap they were able to spend some time outside,” Fishel said. “It was a great environment for the residents to get outside and feel part of a community again. Now that they live here, they don’t always feel as part of something as they may have when they were at home.”
In the past, Fishel said Sunharbor has held fundraisers for leukemia and breast cancer research, and partners annually with the county’s Child Protective Services department near the holidays to donate pajamas for children in foster care.
Fishel said the MS walk-a-thon’s festivities were led by the Mineola Fire Department – one of Sunharbor’s patients with MS is a former firefighter – as well as the Mineola High School Marching Band.
Fishel said KJOY 98.3 morning show personality Leeana was also in attendance for the event, and children from the Growing Tree North day-care facility also participated in the walk-a-thon.
Other local sponsors, like Village Pizza and Pirate’s Booty, also supplied food for the event, Fishel said, and Sunharbor set up a “shake shack” tent where volunteers served slushies to participants.