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Michigan community paints for a purpose

DOWAGIAC, Mich. – Residents in Dowagiac are looking to give hope for the holidays for folks fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

Saturday, the organization “Soldiers for Stef” held a fundraiser at the restaurant Wounded Minnow Saloon.

People attending the event got to paint a holiday-inspired decorative block.

To them, there was something exciting about watching paint dry.

They say it’s because the words painted on these blocks meant a bit more.

“That’s kind of the way I feel,” said Nancy Clark. “If nothing else, I’m going to have fun and I’m going to laugh, because I feel better that way.”

After fighting Multiple Sclerosis for more than 20 years, Clark found a community of folks also helping fight for a cure Saturday afternoon.

“This is a good cause,” she said. “There are a lot of us who have MS and we need more attention on it.”

There was a room full of people with her looking to give it attention.

“We got family and friends here, we got coworkers, people we don’t know,” said Bill Siderits, a member of Soldiers for Stef. “It’s powerful to see a community come together around an important cause. There’s a dual incentive: you’re helping out a great cause and you also have the ability to use these pretty cool signs that work as good as gifts as we get closer to Christmas.”

Those gifts are going a long way this holiday season.

Every year, Soldiers for Stef walk for awareness of the disease in the South Bend MS Walk.

In 2017, they’ve raised $14,000 in donations from the community.

They kept that momentum going, putting the proceeds they make from block painting to MS research.

In addition to the event, the restaurant is donating 15 percent of its food and drink sales to the cause as well.

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