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Column: Moustache Brewing Co. owner climbing for M.S. fundraiser

Lauri Spitz

How long does it take to climb 66 flights of stairs? For Lauri Spitz, co-owner of Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead, just under 25 minutes.

For me? Well, we’ll see what happens when I join Ms. Spitz and her team at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Climb to the Top fundraiser Feb. 28 at Rockefeller Center.

Ms. Spitz’s husband and business partner, Matt, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013 — just as the couple were launching their microbrewery on Hallett Avenue.

Fighting back tears, Ms. Spitz recalled in an interview why she decided to participate in the society’s challenge by herself last year, describing the experience as therapeutic.

“I was always the kid trying to get out of gym class, but started running for charity when I volunteered for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in college,” Ms. Spitz said when asked how she got involved with fundraising athletic events. “When Matt was diagnosed, I decided that now I’m going to do it for the National M.S. Society — and this time I have a reason.”

The nationwide society offers support programs for people with M.S. and their families and raises funding for research. Ms. Spitz said she’s been paying particularly close attention to the development of new drugs designed to rebuild the myelin sheath around the nerves in the brain.

“Think of it like the colored coating on electrical wires — M.S. damages that coating and currently there’s no cure,” she said, describing how the disease affects the brain. “The National M.S. Society funds the research to find drugs that can re-coat those wires.”

In order to help the society raise money to find a cure, Ms. Spitz participated in the 66-flight fundraiser for the first time last year, completing the climb in just 25 minutes and raising about $4,000.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” she said. “There’s 10 steps, and then a flat area where people cheer you on as you reach each floor.”

While there is a timekeeper, Ms. Spitz said not everyone races to the top and people can go at their own pace.

Then once you reach the top, she said, you’re rewarded with a gorgeous view of the city.

To prepare for the challenge, Ms. Spitz is running and doing squats. She’s also organized a team, Moustache Brewing Co., and anyone can join. Yours truly has decided to participate and you should come along!

Visit Moustache Brewing Co.’s team page on the M.S. Climb to the Top 2016 website and use the code stairs2016 to receive $10 off the registration cost.

The brewery will also have a fundraiser Thursday, Jan. 14, from 4 to 9 p.m. with 100 percent of beer sales going to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There will also be raffles.

For more information, email Ms. Spitz at [email protected].

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Top photo: Lauri Spitz with the medal she earned after completing last year’s M.S. Climb to the Top fundraiser at Rockefeller Center. She’s created a team named after her company, Moustache Brewing Co., for anyone to join her this time around. (Credit: Courtesy)