Harrisonburg, Va., May 2, 2012- While off-season training and final exams have kept the James Madison men's basketball team busy over the past few weeks, the athletes spent a day giving back to the community through participating in Walk MS 2012 on the campus of JMU. The annual walk raises funds to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and involves more than 250,000 walkers in 600 cities across the country.
The basketball team became involved with the event through the coaching staff members, who encouraged the players to participate. Sophomore guard Christian Pierce explained that the wife of men's basketball's friend and announcer, Mike Schikman, suffers from multiple sclerosis and would be participating in the walk. "This made me excited about the event because I knew Schik would appreciate us coming, and as a loyal and long-time supporter of JMU athletics, we were pleased to be able to do something for him," said Pierce.
Freshman guard Arman Marks was one of the athletes to walk multiple miles with the community participants and enjoyed the opportunity. "Each of us just tried to be an uplifting spirit to them as a community," Marks said. "Anytime I am put in a position so that I can maybe become a blessing in someone else's life is a great joy for me."
Pierce and Marks were joined by junior guard Alioune Diouf and other basketball players to walk with members of the community who suffer from multiple sclerosis. Diouf enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with community residents while also bonding as a team.
The players interacted with community members of all ages and learned about the participants' lives while also taking time to pose in photographs with them. Pierce added, "These community service events are always a humbling reminder that we have the ability and responsibility to give back to our community. It is always fun for us to be around young people that look up to us because we can make their day just be spending time with them."
Marks expressed the same sentiments and explained, "I was honored to be in their presence."
For more information about how to get involved, visit http://walkvab.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Walk/VABWalkEvents?pg=entry&fr_id=18341.