RI’s Jet Pull For MS Takes Off This Saturday At TF Green Airport
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
The Team Captains
Jennifer Martel of Fall River – Team KLR
Jennifer Martel’s father was 40 – the same age she is now – when he was diagnosed with MS. He and Martel’s mother had six children and were awaiting their seventh when he received the news. Martel, the oldest child, described her father, Antonio Santos, as a hardworking man who went downhill quickly, losing the use of his legs. After decades of struggle, he spent his last years in the long-term care unit of a rehabilitation hospital and eventually passed away in August of this year.
“MS took everything away from him, but in the end, he had his family with him,” Martel said. “My daddy was a hardworking man, who loved his family. MS forced him to stop working and providing for his family. . . In the end, his heart, the only part of his body unaffected by the MS, gave up. This is why I have pulled, and will continue to pull. I don’t want another son or daughter to have to watch their parent suffer the way mine did.”
An audit administrative assistant at KLR in Providence, Martel has pulled on KLR’s MS Jet Pull team for the past three years and is looking forward to Saturday’s pull.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s amazing that human beings can pull such a ginormous plane!” she said. “When I first started they had the smaller plane and I looked at it and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ You have to experience it. If the Egyptians could build the pyramids, we can move this!”
Martel said when she talks with others about MS, she sees how it affects people in so many different ways and it makes her want to raise awareness about the disease.
“It makes you more aware of the suffering involved and you want to fight harder to prevent it,” she said.
Aly Brock of Coventry – Team Brock Stars
Aly Brock loves a challenge – she’s jumped from planes, white water rafted, zip lined, and even drove in a demolition derby, getting into 14 crashes before her car caught on fire. She had such a great time at last year’s MS Jet Pull as a puller on Team Wingnuts, she decided to start her own team for Saturday’s MS Jet Pull.
“We just had so much fun doing it, I thought, ‘If I could grab 24 people I know and make more money, it would make sense,’ ” she said. “Fun, crazy things to raise money – I’m in!”
This service delivery manager for Citizens Bank has recruited her husband Jeff and family members and is attracting pullers from her gym. Her primary interest in the MS Jet Pull is making a difference for people with MS. Her husband’s father, John ‘Jack’ Brock, had progressive MS and he passed away when her husband was only 12.
“I never had the opportunity to meet him,” she said.
The Brock’s twin 11-year-old girls, who are too young to pull, will be volunteering at the event, which provides Brock with the necessary thrill.
“Adrenaline-wise, taking my closest friends and pulling a plane is up there!” she said, noting that she wants her team to get the fastest time. ”I’m very competitive. I don’t mind if I don’t win because it is about charity. But, at the end of the day, I want to win!”
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and over 2.1 million worldwide.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the National MS Society can only accommodate 30 teams and captains are already signing up so don’t delay. Register your team today at www.msjetpull.com.
Spectators are encouraged to cheer on the teams and enjoy fun activities for the family and a delicious BBQ. The entrance fee for adults is $10; children under 12 are $5; and children under three are free. No animals are permitted for their own safety, in keeping with airport rules.
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