WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Teams gathered at T.F. Green Airport on Saturday morning to pull a 757 jet down the runway, all to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The goal is to pull the aircraft, which weighs about 72 tons, more than 70 feet down the runway.
The event hopes to raise awareness for those with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that causes a disconnect between the brain and body. There is currently no cure for the disease.
Cranston resident Roy Birdsell said he was diagnosed with MS five years ago, adding that the news was very unexpected.
“I thought it was a death sentence,” Birdsell said. “They thought I had a stroke at first because it affected my whole left side.”
“Everyday you wake up and you don’t know if you’re gonna feel halfway decent to do the things you want to do for the day. I used to love to work outside I used to love to ride motorcycles, I used to love to go hiking and all those things were affected,” he added.
Teri Molloy of the Greater New England chapter of the National MS Society said proceeds from the event reached well over their goal.
“Our goal was $50,000 and we’re already over $80,000,” Molloy said. “The more money we raise, the closer we are to a cure.”
Birdsell said due to events like this one, he was able to receive a device on his leg that helps him walk.
“It gives me an electric stimulation to the muscle and it picks my foot up as I move,” he said.
He added that experimental medications are giving him hope and changing his perspective on his diagnosis.
“Just because we’re disabled doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and still have a life,” he said.