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Birkie Skiers for Cures Raise Over $105,000

Fri, Apr  3, 2009 - By Cherie Morgan

HAYWARD, Wis., March 31, 2009 – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s fourth annual Birkie Skiers for Cures fundraising program raised over $105,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“The response to the Birkie Skiers for Cures campaign was incredible,” said Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. “The amount of money raised this year greatly exceeded our expectations.”

Bjorn Daehlie, Norwegian cross country ski legend skied the 2009 American Birkebeiner 54K Classic race and participated in several other events as an ambassador for Multiple Sclerosis research.

“Bjorn’s support and participation in the 2009 Birkie Skiers for Cures program was invaluable,” said Zuelsdorff. “He signed autographs, held a private ski and lunch for the largest donors and fundraisers and made numerous appearances at our events to gain exposure for the Birkie Skiers for Cures campaign.”

“Bjorn Daehlie’s mother has suffered from MS for several years and raising needed funds for MS Research is important to him,” said Zuelsdorff. “We believe his support and connection with the skiers was a huge part of the programs success.”

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms may range from numbness in the limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. Progress of the disease, severity and specific symptoms are very unpredictable and vary from person to person.

“We were thrilled and humbled by the support we received from the board and staff of the American Birkebeiner, as well as the response from Birkie skiers,” said Colleen Kalt, president and CEO of the National MS Society – Wisconsin Chapter.  “Research supported by donations to the Society has a profound impact on the lives of more than 2.5 million people throughout the world who live with the challenges of multiple sclerosis every day.   The donations garnered through the Birkie Skiers for Cures program will play a significant role in funding groundbreaking projects that are moving us ever closer to a cure.  Our most heartfelt thanks to Ned Zuelsdorff and the Birkie staff, Dennis Kruse and the board of directors, and to all who helped make this partnership a success.”

The 2009 American Birkebeiner attracted 7,455 skiers participating in the 50K Birkie Skate sponsored by Becker Law, 54K Subaru Birkie Classic, 23K Kortelopet sponsored by Premier Physical Medicine and Wellness Clinic and Johnson Bank Prince Haakon 8K. To learn more about North America’s largest and most prestigious cross country ski race, log on to http://www.birkie.com, email birkie@birkie.com or call 715/634-5025.