Television show host, author and lifestyle expert Mar Jennings will bring his distinctive style to the 2010 Travelers Walk MS as emcee for the Westport walk site. Jennings, of Westport, is motivated by a vivid personal experience as he witnessed firsthand the plight of living with multiple sclerosis. “I remember years ago, one of my professors was diagnosed with MS," shared Jennings. “Throughout the semester, his health was very clearly worsening. It left a lasting impression on me about this serious and potentially debilitating disease."
The Travelers Walk MS, presented by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, takes place Sunday, April 18, at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport and nine other locations across Connecticut. The 2009 event brought together 9,335 participants statewide and raised $1.16 million. This year’s fundraising goal is $1.22 million.
At the Westport site, Jennings will serve as emcee and sign copies of his book, Life On Mar’s, A Four Season Garden, with 50 percent of proceeds from book sales that day being donated to the Connecticut Chapter. Jennings will also present a grand prize consisting of a personal champagne tour of his gardens in June to the three highest fundraising individuals in Westport and winners will be able to bring a friend. The decision to partner with the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter was an easy one, he said.
“The most important thing to me is the opportunity Walk MS provides all of us to do good," explained Jennings. “This is a wonderful opportunity to show my support for the National MS Society and people living with MS as well as for my own local community."
Jennings, who is president and chief operating officer of S&J Multimedia in Westport, has hosted the nationally-syndicated show Mar Jennings Home & Garden since 2005. In 2008, he joined Better TV and he joined the Fine Living Network in 2009. Jennings has been featured on many national and local television networks including CNN, NBC’s Today Show and WTNH News Channel 8’s Good Morning Connecticut Weekend as a lifestyle expert.
His book, Life On Mar’s, A Four Season Garden, is an oversized home and garden coffee table book that chronicles the evolution of his Westport garden. The book’s chapters are divided by each part of the year with tips on keeping a garden in excellent condition through all four season. The book is available in bookstores nationwide or online at Amazon.com.
Jennings described his personal style as “high energy" and he is inspired by what he termed “casual luxury style" – completing projects with simple yet clever tips that make life easy and fun.
“Casual luxury style is something I believe strongly in and Walk MS is an excellent example," he said. “The event is dedicated to finding a cure for MS and coming together with the community. Casual luxury means being able to donate and fundraise while having a fantastic time."
There are more than 6,000 people in Connecticut, and more than 1,300 in Fairfield County, living with multiple sclerosis, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms can range from numbness in the extremities, loss of vision and, in severe cases total paralysis. The progression, severity, and specific symptoms of any one person cannot be predicted. Funds raised at chapter events, such as the Travelers Walk MS, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents affected by MS.
Travelers Walk MS Community partners include WTNH News Channel 8/My TV 9 and Clear Channel Radio Connecticut Clear Channel Radio Connecticut, to include The River 105.9, Country 92.5, KISS 95.7, 104.1 FM, ESPN 1410 AM, KC 101.3, 960 WELI and ESPN 1300 AM. Community partners also include 95.9 THE FOX and WCTY 97.7. News anchor Darren Kramer, WTNH News Channel 8, has been named the 2010 Travelers Walk MS grand marshal for a fifth consecutive year. Lunch will be provided by Subway and Coca-Cola.
To learn more about the Travelers Walk MS, presented by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, or to pre-register, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.