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Third Annual Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser Exceeds Expectations

Sponsored by Texas Roadhouse, the event raised over $20,000, bringing the total for the past three years to over $50,000.

Texas Roadhouse’s third annual Drive for MS golf tournament had the biggest turn out yet.

Organized by Sam Roper, manager of Snellville’s Texas Roadhouse, , the drive raised a little over $22,000. Last year, they raised around $17,000, and the year before they raised $12,000.

“It’s amazing to see how fast it’s grown,” said Roy Rangel, president of the Georgia chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “They’ll probably be over the $50,000 mark. The Ropers have done amazing work … they’ve helped us build awareness of the disease. Our vision is to create a world free of MS, and the only way we can do that is if everyone is involved in some way.”

People are affected by MS in different ways. Sam Roper’s father, Mike, passed away just over a month ago from complications of the disease. His mother, Lorna, now lives with Sam and his family.

“You don’t die from MS,” explained Lorna, “but you can from the complications.”

Mike's memory and cognitive skills were affected. He was in a nursing home in Snellville for many years before passing away.

To put it simply, “if there was a bare spot on the wiring of your car,” said Sam in a previous interview with Snellville Patch, “that wire would short out. Myelin covers your nerves, and if there's ever a bare spot on your nerves it causes things to misfire.” 

Early symptoms are tingling of the hands and feet, numbness, blind spots in your vision, double vision, and loss of bladder control. The tell-tale sign is lesions on your brain, something only an MRI can pick up.

People who suffer from MS face the highest divorce and suicide rate, compared to other chronic conditions. It once had a strong stigma attached to it since the disease was so difficult to diagnose. People with MS were often thought to be hypochondriacs or just lazy.

“It’s demeaning,” said Lorna, “especially for a man.”

Sam’s sister and Lorna’s daughter, Angie, has also been diagnosed. Fortunately she was diagnosed early, and a daily injection keeps her symptoms in check. She stays physically active chasing her two kids and competing on a roller derby team, something that is key to staying healthy.

While it’s tough doing the fundraiser so soon after his dad’s passing, Sam considers it almost “bittersweet.”

“He’s not suffering with all this anymore,” he said.

The support from the community has been tremendous, according to Amy. Mayor Kelly Kautz, council members, the new city manager and countless others came out the Country Club of Gwinnett to show their support and donate to the cause. A total of 144 people participated in the golf tournament.

To make a donation, stop by Texas Roadhouse and tell your server you would like to make a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Donations will be accepted through the end of next week.

For further reading:

  • Texas Roadhouse Shines Light on Multiple Sclerosis
  • Vicki Pomeroy: Fighting Against Multiple Sclerosis
  • Wednesday's Woman: Amy Roper
  • Food Bank Gets Texas-Sized Donation
  • Andrea Cox: A Difficult Diagnosis

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