TOP STORY OF THE DAY, brought to you free by WICU: 'Milling Around' to help beat MS

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Pictured with their granddaughter, Ella Ashby, are Pam and Dave Grimes.
Submitted photo

A local fundraiser hopes to provide a fun activity for families to get back to nature and help stomp out Multiple Sclerosis while getting a glimpse of a special place during “Milling Around the Manor for MS.”

Scheduled for Saturday, April 24th, the event features an outdoor benefit concert by Don Morris, a silent auction, food, fun activities, and vendors, plus 16 acres of peaceful woodlands to wander around called “White Pine Manor.”

Jo Ann Wilkerson is organizing the fundraising event in honor of her friend, Pam Grimes.

To support TEAM GRIMES during the Walk MS: Terre Haute 2021, log onto to donate.

“I was diagnosed in 1992 with MS. I had thought for two years prior that I had this,” said Grimes, who was 33 at the time. “I had three kids, one three, one five and a half, and a 9-year-old. My husband Dave and I had been married 10 years, and it was the week of our anniversary when we found out.”

Grimes was a busy wife and mother, raising three young kids, struggling with weaker and weaker legs, and falling.

“Realizing I could no longer do the trails at McCormick’s Creek was tough and letting go of the things I used to do,” said Grimes. “Then I realized I need to move on with the things I could still do. Realizing how truly blessed I was.”

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling to mobility challenges, blindness, and paralysis. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, affecting women three times more than men.

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In 1999 Grimes decided to fight back and participated in the Walk for MS, raising “a couple of hundred dollars” her first time.

“I wanted to raise more each year,” said Grimes, whose “Team Grimes” has consistently turned in at least $22,000. “Last year, with Covid, we were still blessed with more than $18,000.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic last year, nearly 100,000 participants came together virtually during the Walk MS, each in their own unique way, to raise funds in support of coming closer to a cure. Collectively the event raised over $24 million.

Grimes says fundraising events are a great way to connect with people, and she’s excited about “Milling Around the Manor for MS.” It’s scheduled the same day as the Walk MS: Terre Haute, a virtual event again this year due to COVID-19.

Musician Don Morris, who has not had a live concert since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, told Wilkerson he was also excited to help with the fundraiser.

“Since we can’t meet in person for the walk, we are encouraged to have a team, get others signed up, and walk in the neighborhood or on a treadmill, at the park, walking our way,” she said. “We need to make it fun and raise awareness and much-needed funds.”

White Pine Manor is the place to do it, according to Wilkerson.

The Manor is located at 7831 North State Road 59, Brazil.

“It’s 16 acres of beautiful woodlands where you can celebrate the precious milestones in your life and the lives of your family,” Jo Ann said. “There is so much beauty and serenity there.”

Jo Ann and her husband John have endured some life challenges with the grace of God, and they want to return that joy to others. Last year, the couple decided to open a studio with some of the forgotten arts, such as pottery, to bond family and friends and provide classes for those who are grieving and experiencing loss. The idea is to allow those who might be hurting or feel disconnected, to connect with each other, and hopefully heal as they create something new.

“I learned from my experience that healing came through my creations,” she said. “We also want to provide a place for families to make memories and neighbors to get to know each other. We want to connect people and bless our community.”

White Pine Manor will officially open later this spring as a wedding venue, a place for retreats, vendor fairs, or outdoor concerts.

“It was a dream of mine for many years to help a bride on their special day, but it somehow was forgotten,” said Jo Ann, who is excited about the future. “We would feel beyond honored to share your day with you. Our goal is to show you in every way that once you pass our gate, you become family; you are loved, valued, and appreciated.”

To support TEAM GRIMES during the Walk MS: Terre Haute 2021, log onto to donate.

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