About Walk Hard

What is "ATO Walks Hard?"

ATO Walks Hard is a 160 mile, 8 day walk from Traverse City, Michigan, to the Allendale Campus of Grand Valley State University.  20 men from the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity will be giving up their spring break to raise awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  We have partnered with the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and we are currently planning our 7th annual “ATO Walks Hard: Many Steps for MS.”

The journey begins with an opening ceremony held at 9pm in Kirkhof Center, the central hub of GVSU’s campus, on February 28th and concludes in Allendale on March 8th.   The team will walk an average of 20 miles per day through the West Michigan winter, sleeping in churches along the way and being aided by an eight man support team.

History of ATO Walks Hard

The concept of the event is borrowed from our brothers of Alpha Tau Omega (Kappa Beta) from Troy University in Alabama.  They’ve been doing their annual event titled, “ATO Walk Hard” since 2010 which has benefited various organizations.

Last year was our sixth year, and with primarily personal donations from friends, family, and various supporters we raised a total of $45,000 and over $210,000 in the last 6 years.

Who We Benefit

When this event was first proposed, the brothers had to collectively decide on a benefiting organization.  After a few discussions it was clear that many brothers had a strong connection to multiple sclerosis.  In order to support our brothers and all those who suffer at the hand of this debilitating disease, we have decided to work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  This organization hits close to home with all of us, and has made the effort put towards this event unequaled.

Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.  Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision.  The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.  More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide.  Today, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by the disease; however there is currently NO CURE.

Goals For The 2019 Walk

  • Raise $55,000 to donate entirely towards the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Secure at least $10,000 worth of donations from businesses
  • Raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis, including what it does, how many people it affects, and how to help fight it
  • Continue to amplify this incredible event and encourage each member to always raise the bar
  • Create a greater sense of community across Michigan by encouraging individuals and businesses to join together for one cause
  • Continue the success of the ever expanding Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week at Grand Valley State University