At the time of her MS diagnosis in 1995, Perry Ann Jeveli was a 30-year old graduate student studying business and looking forward to a bright career. Shocked by her inability to see clearly or walk unassisted during her initial exacerbation, Perry Ann sought to understand the impact MS might have on her future. As she learned more about the disease, she became convinced that there must be similar people living active, healthy lives and benefiting from research advances.
“At that time, I simply would not accept that my diagnosis meant the end for me. I knew there must be other sides to this disease. I wanted to understand what was possible,” reflects Perry Ann.
Fueled by her optimism, Perry Ann worked with her neurologist Dr. Stephen Hauser at University of California, San Francisco to take advantage of one of the first therapies available for people with MS. Fortunately, she fully regained her function and has remained active. Determined to do her part, she formed a Northern California Walk MS team, affectionately dubbed “Pear’s Pack” by her teammates after her nickname.
As she learned more about the Society’s funded research taking place at UCSF, Perry Ann resolved to increase her volunteer effort. In partnership with the National MS Society and UCSF in 2013, she created the Jeveli Research Fellowship, whereby promising young doctors receive special training from MS experts at UCSF to develop the complex skills involved in the design, implementation, and analysis of clinical trials in MS, with the goal of accelerating much needed treatments.
“With so much promising research taking place, alongside the critical need to attract outstanding MS researchers, it was important for me to further refine the focus of our donors’ dollars. Our amazing donors appreciate our efforts and the direct correlation that their donations have with exciting research advances,” Perry Ann said.
At the National MS Society Leadership Conference in November (see photo), Perry Ann had the opportunity to meet the first Jeveli Research Fellowship recipient supported by Pear’s Pack’s fundraising efforts, Dr. Sabeen Lulu, whose work focuses on pediatric MS.
Over the years, Perry Ann’s continued optimism and determination has made a substantial impact on people with MS. To date, Pear’s Pack has raised more than $500,000 to support MS research through the Society.
Today, Perry Ann’s commitment to MS is stronger than ever. Not only is she continuing to grow her team’s fundraising to support focused research initiatives, she is also eager to lend her ear and heart to those newly diagnosed, sharing her hope and optimism for the future.