Milford resident Brandi Nowakowski will once again participate in the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Walk on Friday, June 1, joining the movement to create a world free of MS through research funding and advocacy. In memory of her mother, Janet Paskey Brown, Brandi has been a strong advocate of the MS Walk for several years and has become increasingly involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS. To fulfill their mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education and provides programs and services designed to help people living with MS and their families . The annual MS walks help to bring a face to the debilitating disease and honor local individuals that have been experienced the hardships that are associated with MS.
Brandi’s mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around the time she was born. She does not remember a time when her mother did not suffer from the effects of the disease.
“There was no medicine at the time and I remember seeing her have difficulties trying to walk” commented Brandi. “She was an extremely independent, strong- willed woman but I watched her deteriorate my entire life.”
Janet was always a supportive mother, going to watch Brandi cheer at games, and never let the family feel any sense of burden for her disease. Looking for any relief from the disease Janet went to extreme measures, even traveling to Switzerland to be part of a research study that transferred sheep blood into the human body. Unfortunately none of the treatments worked but she never gave up hope.
When Janet died from complications of the disease in 1994 Brandi was 23 years old. Shortly after the death of her mother, Brandi began participating in the MS Walk but always attended the event by herself, honoring her mother’s memory. It was not until after Brandi discovered that two other individuals she knew well were also diagnosed with MS that she became much more involved.
A more active participant in the MS Society, Brandi established a team, “Vivian’s Style”, that has grown from just 1 walker to 35 in three years. The team raises thousands of dollars each year for MS research and advocacy and was named “Rookie of The Year” during their first MS walk.
“It has been seventeen years since my mom died but the MS walk really is an uplifting day.,” commented Brandi. “Just like my mother, you cannot give up hope. She did not have the benefit of modern medicine like today but she always had hope.”
With less than two weeks until Walk MS: Heritage Shores and Walk MS: Baywood Greens step-off, Brandi and the Multiple Sclerosis Society remind individuals that it is not too late to register and join the movement to create a world free of MS. Both events will be held on Friday, June 1 with registration beginning at 5pm and the walk starting at 6pm. Walks at both Heritage Shores and Baywood Greens are approximately 3 miles and support programs that help 1,550 Delawareans with MS. For more information visit www.delawarewalk.org or call 302-655-5610.