Mucking for My Father: Jennifer Martel from Boston’s MuckFest Story
Father’s Day is this weekend, and it can be a wonderful time to celebrate the men who we call our family. It can also be a difficult time, as some of our MuckFest family honor and remember fathers who they have lost to multiple sclerosis.
For Jennifer Martel from Boston, this holiday reaffirms her dedication to MuckFest. She has participated in five Mucks since 2014, all in memory of her father.
Her father was 39 when he first began experiences symptoms, including unstable walking and numbness. As his symptoms worsened, he made a visit to Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he met a neurologist who administered a spinal tap. The spinal tap revealed a diagnosis that his family had never heard much about: primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Within a couple of years, he was forced to retire from his textile printing job that he loved, but it wasn’t until 22 years later that MS took his life.
Now, Jennifer and her family members Muck in his memory. Her team has grown, and her resolve has never wavered. She Mucks for her father, and a world without MS.
Tell us about your first MuckFest…
My first MuckFest was in the spring of 2014. My has father passed away in August of 2013. It was a cold, rainy day. Two of my cousins from my Dad’s side participated with me and we stayed overnight and had some girl time. Every year since then, my cousin Gina has mucked right alongside me. My husband and daughter also now participate.
The weather has also definitely warmed over the years. 😊 Thank God!
How do you think your dad would feel about you participating in MuckFest?
My Dad is always with me. I try to honor his memory by spreading MS awareness as much as I can.
I truly feel that my Dad would be proud of me for participating and raising awareness. He enjoyed when his family participated in MS events.
Why is MuckFest so important to your family?
MS is a disease that affects lives daily. I have personally witnessed MS steal every function from my father over the 22 years he had it. For some, MS is a constant battle. Services and assistance are needed by so many people with MS.
I never hesitate to share my family’s story and how MS has impacted our lives. I love how this year’s MuckFest honored fathers and families. Personally, I enjoy doing things that my father liked. He loved old music, especially from the Beatles. Every so often, I will pop a CD in while I am driving if I am missing him.