MuckFest MS Detroit | A Mucky Challenge between Mom and Son

We’re so excited to chat with Jennifer Essary, the team captain of one of our mucking awesome Detroit teams and sponsors, Real Estate One Charitable Foundation.

MuckFest MS Detroit Participants, Mother and Son

How did you first get involved with MuckFest® MS?

It all began with a simple conversation between my son and me…“So Mom, what exciting Real Estate One Charitable Foundation events do you have going on this summer?” I replied with giddy enthusiasm, “Well, REOCF is the local course sponsor for this really cool new event for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society called MuckFest MS,” and I went on to share all of the dirty details. Then, SMACK, right across the middle-age consciousness, it happened. Reality, judgment, and maturity jumped out the window. It is possible that I misinterpreted my 13 year-old child’s words of genuine concern for my health and well-being as a challenge when he said, “I don’t think you should run in MuckFest MS, Mom, you are too old and you might get hurt.” It is also possible that he muttered something totally different under his breath like, “You crazy old lady, there is no way you’ll make it through the obstacle course.” Instead of thanking him for his concern, my response was something like, “Oh yeah, you think you could do it?” You can imagine how the conversation escalated. When the dust settled, the gauntlet had been thrown.

That’s awesome. Tell us more about the competition between you and your son.

I’m not sure which one of us issued the actual challenge, but we are now in competition to see not only who gets through the obstacle course first (my money is on him), but also who can actually hit, and maybe even exceed, the fundraising goal of $500 first (my money is on me). He may be able to haul his nimble little body up out of the muck and over the wall faster, but I was pretty confident that with a little help I would reach the $500 challenge first! It may work to my advantage that his friends have jobs as life guards, dog walkers and lawn mowers and not much of a cash flow.

How have both of your fundraising efforts been going so far?

The fundraising for me happened pretty easily as my middle-aged parent friends completely identified with the teenage conversation/challenge. Fundraising for my son, however, was more challenging. He has never before been involved in fundraising for a charitable cause. He volunteers several times a year for a number of charitable organizations, but he has never asked for people to contribute to his fundraising efforts. He is not on social media and didn’t have a quick way to get to family and friends, so his start was slow. He has now almost reached his goal and he is so excited that people believe in him and want to support him.

Are you getting excited about the course?

I’m nervous about the course, simply because I have never done an obstacle course covered in mud before, and because I have a few years on this old body having recently celebrated a half century of blessings on this earth. My son, however, is so excited he can hardly contain himself. He has been reading up on ORC technique and working on strength and cardio. He often taunts me asking me how many pull-ups I can do. It is a running joke in our house.

What message do you and your son have for all of our Muckers?

We hope that everyone reaches their goals of fundraising and course completion and that they take away great memories of this most mucktacular event. Keep your eye on the prize and on the moving objects. And be kind to the old lady in front of you trying to make it through/over the obstacles.

Thanks so much to Jennifer for sharing her MuckFest MS experience with our readers. To support her and her son in their epic fundraising challenge, visit their participant pages at:

The Real Estate One Charitable Foundation will match both of their funds raised, so your dollar has an even greater impact!

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