Tony Kunczewski witnessed MS and its’ effects firsthand growing up. His mother lived with chronic, progressive MS. Tony, who was born two years after his mother’s diagnosis, watched his mother lose the use of her legs, arms and eventually her vocal cords. She developed pneumonia after she came down with a common cold, and could not project mucus from her lungs. She passed away nearly five years ago.
“It made a huge impression on me- what the disease can do but also with the right attitude how you can still live your life and battle the disease.” Tony says she lived life to the fullest and his parents were always taking different trips. “It was really sad to see, because there were some breakthroughs in medicine but nothing could stop the progression of the disease.”
Looking back as he grew older, Tony says he realized “hey, that’s kinda what shaped my life right now.”
Currently Berry College’s head football coach, Tony says “sports were a huge part of my life growing up, and I think a big reason why they’re still a major part of my life is that I never took being able to walk, run, throw or do anything athletic for granted - because I saw my mom in a wheelchair all those years. When I was young I would just look to the sidelines or into the stands, and I would see my mom, and say she will never have the ability to do this.”
Tony admits he was “kind of selfish” for the majority of his life. “There have been times in my life when I was embarrassed I had a mom who couldn’t walk or do a lot of the things my friends’ moms could do. There were some things I probably wish I would’ve done differently.” He says he was not involved with the National MS Society until the past couple of years, but didn’t want to look back with regret anymore. That’s when he became involved with Walk MS. Tony is the co-captain of the Berry College Walk MS team. Last year the team exceeded their fundraising goal by almost $3000, raising $7,997.00. This year, Tony and Team Berry College are registered and making strides to further impact the MS community.
“One of my goals is to pass on her legacy and that’s why it’s important for me to volunteer and try to find help for others who are battling this disease. I have three kids and it helps continue my mom’s legacy when we do this every year. It reminds my kids, and it certainly reminds me, of the life she lived and the woman that she was.”
Join Tony and the 300,000 plus people connected nationally through Walk MS, in showing the world the power of our connections. Participating in Walk MS shows those affected by the MS that they are not alone, and that together we can change the world for everyone impacted.
Be inspired. Get Connected. Walk MS. Visit walkms.org<http://walkms.org> or call 800-344-4867 for additional information.