May 21, 2002
By: Carrie Turner, Staff Writer
BRYANT - Kathryn Dillard, a first-grader at Collegeville Elementary School, definitely has Sole.
Kathryn, 7, recently raised more than $1,000 to benefit Multiple Sclerosis research.
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, predominantly affecting young adults.
Genetic and environmental factors are known to contribute to MS, but a specific cause for this disease is not identified.
Kathryn is the daughter of Steve and Kim Dillard of Bryant.
"I wrote letters and sent them to family members and friends," she said. "I wrote MS Walk on each envelope that I sent out with my letter and put stamps on them. That way we would know what it was when we checked the mail."
"Dear Friends," the letter reads. "My mom has multiple sclerosis and so does my Aunt Tootsie. I would like for you to sponsor me in the MS Walk. I am trying to raise money to help find a cure for all the moms and dads who have MS. If you can sponsor me, please send your money back in this envelope."
Kathryn, who said she wants to help find a cure for MS, said 40 or 50 people sponsored her in the 3-mile walk/run.
"Mom came home from work one day and was talking about it," Kathryn said. "I thought that I could help raise money to find a cure for MS."
Kim Dillard said friends at North Hills Preschool wanted to help with the MS walk.
"A group of about 25 friends that I work with at North Hills Preschool decided that we should form a team," she said. "The group was comprised of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and nurses."
That's when the team Sole Sisters was formed.
Kathryn said her original goal was to raise $69, but she far exceeded that amount.
"When I first asked her how much money she wanted to raise, she said $69," Kim Dillard said. "When I asked her how she had decided her goal Kathryn told me that she would have to raise $75 to earn a MS Walk T-shirt. She said she had $6 of her own money and that if she could raise $69, she would have enough for a T-shirt."
As a reward for her fund-raising efforts, Kathryn received a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a $70 gift certificate to Wal-Mart.
Kathryn said everyday as she and her mother would check the mail, they would chant "big money" as they walked toward the mailbox.
"It is so amazing," Kim Dillard said "because there is not one big donor. A lot of people contributed money to her and was a group effort."
Kathryn said the MS walk is something she would definitely like to do
"We have considered letting her have her own team with her friends next year," Kim Dillard said.
©Benton Courier 2002