A Quality Guy Takes on Quality of Life Issues
At first, MS was paralysis and pain for Joe Revello. Now it’s recognizing that if you have great people in your life, you have a great life.
Revello was diagnosed in 1995 and had what he calls “a meltdown” in 2000. He completely lost his mobility and experienced unbearable pain.
That’s when friendships he didn’t even know he had kicked in. The top boss at Bradco Supply Co., a New Jersey building supplies distributor, told him to take as much time off as he needed, and kept him on the payroll. Coworkers dropped by with food and formed Team Bradco, which in four years became the Garden State’s biggest-fundraising Walk MS team.
“It almost sounds like I’m telling a fairly tale here, but it was true. It was unbelievable, the amount of support I got.”
Revello stopped working in early 2009, but remains the focal point of the fundraising behemoth that Team Bradco has become. The company has new owners, but their loyalty to the team continues: they contributed $10,000 to the 2009 walk plus $10,000 in other forms of support to the chapter, including a scholarship named for Revello. Friends and relatives concoct new fundraisers, with proceeds going to the Society via Team Bradco.
Revello’s sister-in-law, a teacher, leads students in a pre-walk walk that raised $13,000. His 20-year-old niece put on a Broadway revue that earned $10,000 and got media coverage. A work friend is planning a fitness event to be called Spinning Under the Stars. The ideas seem endless.
“I would love to take credit, but they think of these things, they put them together and they do a great job,” Revello said.
Then there’s the old-fashioned ask: “Everywhere that I do business, I ask back. I go to a diner, I ask the diner. I go to a Chinese restaurant, I ask the Chinese restaurant. I go to the cleaners, I ask the cleaners. Some people can’t afford to give, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give next year.”
In addition to research, Revello wants to fund more services for people with MS — like the MS wellness center that the Mid Jersey Chapter (now part of the New Jersey Metro Chapter) enrolled him in in 2008. Before the 12-week program, which he says gave him "a new lease on life," he could barely stand. Now he gets around great, using crutches. He liked the adaptive tai chi so much that he and Denise now take a class together.
“I never would have discovered that if it was not for the wellness program,” he said. “I think there’s got to be a better quality of life for people living with MS.”
Even more important than any one program is the sense of progress that joining the MS movement helped Revello develop. “I met some really nice people, who unfortunately suffer from the same disease. And I hate to use the word suffer because I don’t feel that I suffer. I’m in a great place right now.”