Jan and Ken Mauge are involved in seemingly every event that the National MS Society, Greater Illinois Chapter puts on. They serve as co-facilitators of their local support group; they fundraise for and volunteer at Walk MS and Bike MS; they have done peer visits at a local nursing home, bringing their dog Rusty to provide companionship. So it comes as no surprise that they first came across each other at an event put on by the National MS Society.
“We actually met at the MS Walk in 2004,” says Jan. “Ken has been volunteering with the MS Society since 1991, and I have been active since we met and eventually got married those nine years ago.”
In the thirty years since his diagnosis with MS, Ken has been a constant participant in Society functions. He is somewhat of a GIC journeyman, having taken part in long gone events including the Hike and Bike and the auto show, as well as ongoing ones such as Slugfest. Jan, on the other hand, has found her volunteering niche. As a registered nurse, she is a constant presence at the medical tents that are part of many events.
The Mauges show their dedication to the MS Society through all of the work that they do, but Jan notes that they find their inspiration in separate yet connected ways.
“Ken is inspired to participate in ‘the movement’ because he enjoys meeting new people with MS,” she says. “He wants to help them figure out their disease and learn how to live with it. Myself, I love to see the way that people deal with the disease, and I enjoy the positive attitude that so many people have!”