HIGHLAND | Seventy guests met recently at the home of Jim and Susan Colias for the couple's annual MS Fundraiser and Luncheon supporting Dr. David Gross, a Merrillville ophthalmologist.
His team, Team Gross, participates in BIKE MS to raise donations for the MS Society.
"Every year people look forward to this event," Susan Colias said. "We have a special neighborhood and special friends where we all share a mission to help other people.
"We also hold this fundraiser for a special family. The Gross' give so much in time and talent every year, doing an absolutely incredible job to raise awareness and donations to help people who live with MS every day."
Although Dr. Gross, the team captain, does not have family members afflicted with MS, he sees patients go through life with this disease and decided 11 years ago to put his bicycle training to a good cause with BIKE MS.
He and his team of 17 riders participated in the 200-mile BIKE MS ride Sept. 8 and 9 in Carmel. Donations are presented to the MS Society to support research, education and to assist people who have this life-altering disease.
In 11 years, Team Gross has raised $325,000 for the MS Society, including $13,000 donated at the Colias fundraiser.
Speaking at the fundraiser were Dr. Kathleen Kelley from Price Vision Group in Indianapolis, who spoke about new types of medication used to help those who have MS, and Sarah Bugajski, of Highland, who spoke about how drug therapy and research has helped her in everyday life and offered thanks to supporters.
A special $11,000 donation came from Sheila Villa, of Portage, from her foundation, THE GIFT Foundation Inc. - Together Helping Everyone Gain Independence From Trauma - of which Villa is president and founder.
"I am always touched by the generosity of the people of our community, meeting people with such kind hearts has truly been one of the highlights of my life," Gross said.
Matt Colias and Scott Oostman volunteered to grill for the attendees and many friends and neighbors either made or donated food for the event.
To make a donation to Team Gross, visit www.nationalmssociety.org and click on "Sponsor a Rider," then fill in the necessary information to reach Dr. Gross' page.