2020 Inspiration Award winner: Delores Wolfe
Delores Wolfe writes notes, makes pies and raises funds.
by James Townsend
For sheer commitment to the cause of raising awareness about multiple sclerosis, Delores Wolfe is an inspiration to many. Now 90 years old, Wolfe has participated in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual Walk MS in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for more than 30 years, raising nearly $300,000.
She raises funds the old-fashioned way — with personal handwritten notes to the many friends, relatives and people she has met over her long lifetime. “When I get something in the mail hand-addressed and handwritten, I know I pay more attention to it, so I thought other people would as well,” she says. Her community is extensive. For her 90th birthday, Wolfe received 227 birthday cards.
When Wolfe’s late daughter was diagnosed with MS in the 1980s, they faced a dilemma. “Her doctor put her on medication that was quite expensive, and the insurance company wouldn’t pay for it,” Wolfe recalls. “So, I called the MS Society to see if they could help.” The Society helped her find insurance coverage for the medication. “I was so grateful, and I wanted to repay them by doing what I could to raise money toward a cure.”
Wolfe is also famous for her pies, particularly her Shoofly and Lemon Sponge varieties. She has sometimes made and sold as many as 100 pies. “I have a bit of a hard time rolling all that dough nowadays,” she says, “but my granddaughter does a lot of that work for me now.”
Wolfe’s family has been involved in her efforts for years. Four generations have participated in Walk MS. For the last several years, Wolfe’s granddaughter, Janella Camacho, who also has MS, has helped Wolfe continue to join in the Walk by pushing her in a wheelchair.
“Janella also is now hand-writing the letters for me because my writing has deteriorated, but I still address all the envelopes,” Wolfe says.
The first year Wolfe participated in the Walk, she raised nearly $1,000. Every year since, she has increased her goal and now shoots for $15,000.
Wolfe says the source of her long-standing dedication to the MS movement is simple: “It makes me feel good. And my hope is that I live long enough to see the cure for MS become a reality.”
James Townsend is a writer in Boulder, Colorado.
Meet more of the 2020 Inspiration Award winners.