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News Apr 12, 2013 - 2:54:48 AM

Newington Woman To Land Crushing Blow At Wethersfield Throwdown

By National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter

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Karen Guarnaccia, Newington, organizer of the annual Sangria Throwdown to benefit MS, poses with her husband, Dennis. Karen, who was diagnosed with MS in 1994, will host the third annual Sangria Throwdown to benefit MS Saturday, June 8, at Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Wethersfield. For more information, visit
WETHERSFIELD, CT - It has become apparent these days that multiple sclerosis has robbed Karen Guarnaccia of much more than what should ever be allowed. However, MS cannot rob her of an indomitable fighting spirit. On Saturday, June 8, Guarnaccia will land a crushing blow when she hosts the third annual Sangria Throwdown, a benefit that promises to leave an indelible mark against MS.

“This event has become so popular that we have had to change venues twice in three years,” said Guarnaccia, who today depends on a powered wheelchair for mobility. “Our sangria tasting has something for everyone – great wines, food, entertainment and fabulous prizes. It’s guaranteed to be a great time for a truly worthy cause.”

Last year, the annual Sangria Throwdown raised $5,150 to benefit the fight against MS - $10,000 since the event was established. Guarnaccia expects to raise at least $5,000 this year. Guests will sample sangrias crafted by 10 participating mixologists, whose concoctions will be scrutinized by a panel of finicky judges. The evening includes hors d’oeuvres, drawings for prizes and live music.

Guarnaccia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1994, just a year after the first drug was made available to help treat MS. She has been a member of the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, board of trustees since 2003, and she chairs the Connecticut Chapter programs committee.

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Karen Guarnaccia, are affected by multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown. There is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

“It’s so much fun seeing who can come up with the best sangria,” said Guarnaccia, who lives in Newington. “When we first started the event we had no idea it would become so popular. It shows that just about everyone loves a glass of sangria.”

The 2013 Sangria Throwdown to Benefit MS will take place Saturday, June 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, 150 Main St., in Wethersfield. Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance online by visiting Proceeds will benefit the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. The annual Sangria Throwdown is an example of Do It Yourself Fundraising. For more information about multiple sclerosis, the many ways to help make a difference or DIY Fundraising, visit

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