Steadfast Society supporter, Indiana Board of Trustees member, and long-time co-captain of a leading Walk MS team, Jay Brammer has advice for others looking to change the world for everyone affected by MS: “whether you are most interested in helping people live better lives today or funding research towards a cure, there is no better place to support than the National MS Society.” Heeding his own advice, Jay, and his wife Becky, will be gifting the Society $1 million over the next two years to fund research that will change the lives of those with progressive MS, and all forms of MS, across the world.
For Jay and Becky, this gift to accelerate MS research breakthroughs is deeply personal. They have witnessed what it’s like to live with MS up close through their daughter, who was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2014. Though their daughter lives with the challenges of stress, sleep deprivation, heat sensitivity, and occasional blurry vision, she remains upbeat. She finds ways to overcome the challenges of MS, like taking her young child outside in the evening to spend time together when it isn’t as hot. Jay says, “having a family member with MS, you worry about the future for them” and that his gift is motivated by assuring a better future, not only for his daughter, but for the “many brave, wonderful people living with MS” across the country, including those he has met through his many active volunteer roles with the Society.
Jay and his family are thankful for the many advancements and treatments available today for those who live with the relapsing-remitting form of MS but acknowledge that “today we have very few choices for those affected by the most severe form of the disease.” He lauds the Society’s prioritization of progressive MS research and its leadership in this important global effort through its integral role in the International Progressive MS Alliance. He sees the Society and the Alliance’s work as key to the fact that more is being learned about progressive MS today than ever before and that’s why he has supported this effort so generously with this gift. “The nature of progressive MS means we need answers more quickly,” Jay says “and with relapsing MS very often leading to progressive MS we need to double down and find answers for the benefit of all living with MS.”
As a member of the Indiana Board of Trustees, Jay also has a front row seat to the inner workings of the Society and the tireless efforts of its staff and volunteers to drive breakthroughs that change the world for everyone affected by MS. “The Society’s volunteer leaders are the most supportive and active contributors to the organization because they best understand what the Society accomplishes every day for millions of people through its’ programs, research and legislative advocacy,” Jay shares. He says that he and his fellow trustees show their “leadership, support and confidence in the Society” not only through the gift of their time but through their meaningful financial contributions as well.
For Jay, a cure for MS will come not just through one individual gift, albeit a substantial one, but through the collective impact of many. He calls on his fellow trustees and donors to give generously to the Society because it is the collective contributions of many that will help the Society continue to affect millions of lives. “Today the Society makes choices on what to fund,” Jay says. “I believe it makes good, well-vetted decisions … but with more resources the Society would be able to do more. Who knows what area of research is not yet funded but that will prove to unlock the key to ending MS in the future?”