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Worcester retiree nears $1 million mark in donations for MS Society

Doug McAllister

By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer

Region – Most people have a cause that they are passionate about. Many participate in fundraising events to support that cause. Doug McAllister, 72, of Worcester has taken that passion to a whole new level. He is on the brink of reaching $1 million raised for the Greater New England Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

McAllister began fundraising 32 years ago, participating in walk and rides for various causes. He has a friend with multiple sclerosis and joined a Bike MS event. He has been raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society ever since.

“At first it was just fun, I would do around five rides each and every year,” he said. “Over time my list of sponsors kept building and building.”

McAllister now has more than 1,300 sponsors, mostly by “banging on doors,” he explained.

This year, he said, he tried a new tactic – sitting outside stores collecting money.

“People only give a few dollars or spare change, but it adds up,” McAllister said. “It doesn’t matter how you get it, just get it.”

When he has a bad fundraising day, he tells himself “I will do better the next day.”

Already this year, he has raised $84,000, up from $67,000 last year. Currently, he is at $994,000.

He rode in Bike MS every year until last year when he suffered a stroke.

“I don’t trust my balance on a bike,” he noted. “I am doing walks instead. I will do as many as I can. This year I’m doing fewer. Raising money is time-consuming.”

The Worcester native was inducted into the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Fundraisers Hall of Fame in 2003 and was invited to speak at a conference in 2008 when he crossed the $500,000 mark.

According to McAllister, the top fundraisers are invited to a conference each year held all over the U.S. to share their success stories. He said he might be speaking at the next conference after he reaches $1 million in donations.

Now retired, McAllister graduated from Nichols College, worked in accounting, and was a Vietnam veteran. He loves to spend time outdoors and intends to continue raising money for this worthy cause.

Aileen Curran, director of Walk MS for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, has been receiving McAllister’s donations for years.

“Doug is a rock star,” she said. “He has been raising money for the society for nearly 20 years going door-to-door which is just amazing. Thanks to him we are able to fund research which will lead us to a cure for MS.”

To help McAllister reach his goal, online donations may be made to Checks may be made payable to National MS Society and mailed to Doug McAllister, 22 Sigel St., Worcester, MA 01610.



Doug McAllister leads the pack at a local Bike MS event.

Doug McAllister


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