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Earlier this month, Montel Williams took over the Golden Nuggets’ newly renovated pavilion in Las Vegas to host his charity poker tournament to benefit the Montel Williams MS Foundation.

60 players donated $1,080 each to play the charity event, including noted poker professionals Jennifer Tilly, Phil Laak, Jamie Gold, Marsha Waggoner and Robert Williamson III. John Colville, Poker Operations Manager, also presented a generous donation of $25,000 to the MS Foundation.

The Montel Williams MS Foundation directs its research towards new treatments and ways to make them available to everyone. Montel said, “I’m going to keep on having these fundraisers until a cure is found. Technology is advancing and so are the treatments. One day a cure is going to happen!”

Montel went public about his MS eight years ago, and since then has been approached by countless people that have been afflicted with the disease. We don’t always get to meet those who benefit from various foundations and their research, but one person who has benefited from the support of the MS Foundation is William Nystrom, a triathlete from Northern California.

Nystrom was diagnosed with MS when he was 27 and was featured in the MS Foundation’s newsletter.

“Montel is truly a leader and role model when it comes to raising MS awareness,” said Nystrom. “I was really proud to have been included. The foundation advocates an active lifestyle: snow boarding, swimming, running, walking…actually any and all physical exercise. Every year they hold an annual bike-riding event to raise money, but because I live on the west coast and not in NYC anymore, it’s really tough for me to participate in them.”

Nystrom may very well be the ideal poster child for the MS Foundation, while calling him inspirational may be the understatement of the year. On June 8, Nystrom won the Escape for Alcatraz Triathlon in his division. It took him 3- hours, 2-minutes and 24 seconds to complete the 1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike ride and 8-mile run, which placed him 637th overall out of over 2,000 competitors.

“Winning ranks pretty high up there among my accomplishments,” said Nystrom, who also won the Pacific Grove Triathlon last year. “Being able to compete is infectious. There’s a sense of excitement I can’t explain.”

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