Auction organizer has personal reason for wanting to end MS

Tanya Nordhaus
Tanya Nordhaus (contributed)

Tanya Nordhaus had been raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) for 10 years when a doctor delivered news of her own MS diagnosis.

That was 18 years ago this month. Today, Nordhaus powers through severe fatigue, muscle pain and numbness, “pins and needle” sensations, and other physical symptoms to raise her young daughter and manage Eye Level tutoring center in Farmington Hills. And she still raises funds to fight MS.

In addition to a July bike ride, Nordhaus hosts an annual Auction to End MS, held this year on Saturday, April 27, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., at Farmington Garage in downtown Farmington. She came up with the idea more than two years ago, while waiting for her car to be serviced.

“I was looking around at how beautiful it is, and thought somebody should do a fundraiser here,” Nordhaus recalls. “About 20 minutes later, a light bulb went off. I should do a fundraiser here.”

Music, local food, silent auction

The inaugural Auction to End MS was a lot of work, she said, and raised more than $8,000. In its third year, the event offers food catered by local restaurants, performances by musicians from Axis Music Academy, and, of course, a variety of silent auction items.

Nordhaus still has room for sponsors and auction items; in previous years, bidders have gone home with unique, handcrafted items, restaurant gift certificates, and gift baskets packed with items ranging from children’s books to goods from downtown Farmington merchants.

Finding a ‘sixth wind’

This year, Nordhaus is doing much of the organizing herself, and it taxes her energy stores. But she keeps moving forward fueled by her passion for the cause.

“My diagnosis was a wake-up call that maybe I needed to live my life more fully, more prescribed,” she said. “What keeps me going is that I’ve always been a passionate person. If I’m passionate about something, I find a way to get it done. I find a sixth wind.”

Nordhaus has benefitted from the Society’s work. After her diagnosis, she regularly received information from the organization that helped educate her and calm her fears. She now speaks to people who’ve been newly diagnosed. All funds raised during the Auction to End MS will support the range of NMSS services.

“I’m not just doing this event for me,” Nordhaus said. “I’ve been fundraising for years for everyone who’s diagnosed.”

For information on sponsorships, to donate a silent auction item or purchase tickets, or to learn more, visit anauctiontoendms.com