By Ms. Tracy Robillard (AMC)March 16, 2011
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- If you've ever browsed one of Picatinny's many web pages, you've seen the work of computer guru Marc Ivry of Chugach Industries, who is a key liaison to the online world of the arsenal.
But crunching computer code was the last thing on Ivry's mind Feb. 27, when the five-year Picatinny employee trudged up 66 flights of stairs at New York City's famous Rockefeller Center.
In total, Ivry climbed 1,251 steps and raised more than $4,800 for multiple sclerosis (MS) research in the annual Climb to the Top fundraising event hosted by the National MS Society.
Drawing more than 1,000 climbers throughout the region this year, Climb to the Top raises funds to help more than 10,000 New York City, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester residents affected by multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that has no known cause or cure.
"I registered for Climb to the Top because I wanted to do something for the people who have been diagnosed-and because I want to do everything to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease," Ivry said.
"Today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and with diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability."
According to the National MS Society, MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.5 million worldwide.
Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
The disease interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and it stops people from moving. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.
"Having multiple sclerosis means that you may suddenly have blurry vision," Ivry said. "Or that your memory will fail you for no apparent reason. Or that you may not always be able to walk, or climb stairs.
"The symptoms of MS are different for everyone-the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day."
Ivry described the climb as a rigorous challenge, but he still achieved his goal of completing all 66 flights of stairs in 23 minutes.
In the last year, Ivry has lost 87 pounds by making a conscious effort to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising frequently, eating right and getting plenty of water and rest.
"That's why I choose do to events like this one," he said. "You meet people who are into exercising and keeping healthy and fit. It's easy to make friends and continue being motivated and supported."
But a major part of Ivry's motivation was his friend Caren Josephs, to whom Ivry dedicated his climb.
"When she found out I was raising money to climb for MS, she told me that she was diagnosed with the early stages of the disease a couple years ago," Ivry said.
"It really touched me, because I never knew. I told her I would dedicate my climb to her."
The two friends reached out to friends, family and coworkers to raise as much as they could for Ivry's climb.
Not only did they exceed their original goal of $1,000, but the MS Society recognized Ivry as the second place individual for raising the most funds and invited him back as an MVP for next year.