Brian Howard: Lean on Me
Organized by: Friends of Brian Howard
Do you remember where you were on May 5, 2006? Probably caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life with your kids, family, and work? Brian and Marcia remember that day as anything but ‘normal’, it was the day Brian received his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. A day that changed their future forever.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. You can learn more about the disease here.
The first nine years living with MS were manageable for Brian – yes, they required changes and adaptations; there were falls, injections, and learning about what was coming as the disease progressed.
That time is now. This last year has been one of serious and rapid progression of the disease that has caused significant quality-of-life challenges for Brian and his family. Mobility changes have taken away key elements of his independence – working, walking, driving, and general caring for himself. As of August, Brian is on disability from Oracle and spending his days putting definition around 'Brian Howard 2.0', welcoming daytime visitors and conversations, and occasionally binge watching Netflix.
In an effort to give Brian some of his independence and freedom back – a group of his friends are working to raise money to purchase a handicap accessible van that will include hand controls (which will allow Brian to drive again) and a ramp that he will be able operate on his own to get in and out of the van. It isn’t the macho SUV he dreamed of purchasing once the kids left the nest, but it will get him back into circulation, on his own!
We know all too well how long and brutal Minnesota winters can be, especially confined to your home with no wheels – this is your opportunity to let Brian Lean on You and get him into a vehicle and out of the house before the snow flies. 'Brian Howard 2.0' is certain to be a force who will to continue to positively impact each of us and our communities.
We have all Leaned on Him over the years and been on the receiving end of his many gifts – in high school at Simley, at Mankato State University (often that was literal ‘leaning’), the Inver Grove Heights Planning Commission and City Council, Faithful Shepherd Catholic School (founding group of parents, Board chair, football coach, Septemberfest chair), as a beloved football coach and referee, at his church of St. Thomas Becket, at the kids high school – Cretin-Derham Hall, and professionally at Northern Telecom, multiple startups, a challenging stint at real estate development, and finally Oracle.
Won’t you take this opportunity to let Brian Lean on You?
The goal is to raise $75,000 to buy a handicap accessible van with hand controls/ramp and allow for Brian and Marcia to make modest accessibility modifications to their home. Brian is lucky that many of the things this new phase of the disease requires (mechanical wheelchair, easy stand to maintain muscle bearing ability, etc.) are covered by insurance – but the van and some home improvements (ie, handicap accessible bathroom) are not.
Prefer to send a check? Great, mail it to:
Lean on Me
PO Box 21024
Eagan, MN 55121