$1000 Swim

Lauren Johnson, contributing writer

Joliet West’s Mrs. Blake, Freshman English teacher, is embarking on the act of swimming 1,000 laps to raise $1,000 dollars for Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, progressive disease, typically genetic, that damages nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord; some symptoms are impairment of speech and muscular coordination, blurred vision, numbness and fatigue.

Blake had the idea of donating to Multiple Sclerosis when her class read a story called “On Being a Cripple,” by Nancy Mairs and also being personally affected by this disease through a family friend as well. Blake decided to gain some knowledge about Multiple Sclerosis so she could have background information to tell her class while they were reading. “I read into Multiple Sclerosis because I was fascinated by it. I saw how devastating the disease could be and I thought there is definitely something I could do to help,” said Blake.

Blake has partnered with Multiple Sclerosis Association of America to help her track her donations and progress as she endures her laps. On http://support.mymsaa.org/goto/kristinswim you can donate and check the progress of Blake through her journey of swimming 1,000 laps. The MSAA is a resource people can visit whether they are physically effected with Multiple Sclerosis or have a loved one coping with the disease. The MSAA offers hotlines, help groups and other programs to help others cope with this life changing disease.

As of October 8th, Mrs. Blake is at $1,050 of donations and is at 500 laps, and she hit well over her donation goal Blake has seen how generous others can be, “They are helping and they are giving a lot,” she explained. Mr. Romanelli, Freshmen English teacher, elaborates on why he donated to Mrs. Blake, “The reason I donated to Mrs. Blake was simple. What she is doing is outstanding. I commend anyone who is going to work for a cause that has a positive impact on people as a whole. Mrs. Blake’s dedication to raising awareness for MS is quite impressive and I am proud to be associated with her efforts.” Also, Senior Lilia Chavero contributes her motive for donating to help Mrs. Blake, “My donation to Mrs. Blake’s swim for Multiple Sclerosis is a great contribution to help those suffering from that disease. I was in the swim team before and the most I have swam was 15 laps. I know the gratitude someone needs to have to be able to swim 1,000 laps. Mrs. Blake has full potential to do this. Good luck!”

Blake has estimated that she will be finishing her swimming triumph by October 31st and plans to swim strong until the last day. Blake states that, “I chose swimming because it was something I was always good at. We always see people running to benefit others, I thought swimming would be something different I could do to help.” Blake will be spending her pool time at Lincoln-Way’s Olympic sized pool, and is hoping her efforts encourage others to make a change in someone else’s life as well.