REALTOR® Helps Multiple Sclerosis Patients Lead Full Lives

Brandon Sweeney is familiar with the life-altering symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). When he was growing up, his grandmother, father and uncle were all diagnosed with the disease. Watching his family members suffer, he could tell they needed more help than they were receiving.

“Most patients, depending on insurance coverage, don’t really get the help they need to live a better life,” says Sweeney, GREEN, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Andover, Mass. “They have meds and scans, but they need things that help like a gym membership and physical therapy to keep them moving. They’re looking for additional help to keep them going.”

When he was in high school, Sweeney would participate in charity events for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, forming a fundraising team he named “MS is BS.” But when he went away to college, his involvement in fundraising activities took a back seat to his studies. Still, he kept his service to people with MS top of mind.

“I was in a course with a capstone requirement, and we had to create a business plan around a cause that meant something to us,” Sweeney says. “I created a business plan around the MS is BS idea, and then, once I completed it, I thought I might as well give it a shot.”

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As a junior in college in 2016, and with his business plan in hand, he set out to execute a duathlon that included running and mountain biking. The duathlon became Sweeney’s signature event, also called MS is BS, which he hosts to this day.

The goal of MS is BS is to provide funds to those who suffer from the progressive disease to access the equipment and care that will allow for a high quality of life. Sweeney says that his grandmother was the inspiration for the kind of help he wanted MS is BS to bring to the community. “She lived her life to the fullest how she saw fit, and she didn’t let MS bring her down,” he says

MS is BS gives $1,000 grants to people to cover physical therapy and gym memberships, as well as $5,000 grants to those who need to make home modifications for accessibility. Sweeney says the grants have helped people renovate bathrooms and add ramps to entryways. Many have used them to start gym memberships and physical therapy so that they can retain the use of their limbs for longer. Sweeney’s uncle was able to retrofit his van with a pulley system so that he could get in and out of his vehicle.

Sweeney hopes the grants can be a source of inspiration and hope. “These people are looking at their disease and asking themselves how they want to live their lives. The grants are meant to help them live the way they want to and deal with how MS is affecting them”

Right now, MS is BS is still pretty small—seven volunteer board members and 10 volunteer committee members—but Sweeney is hoping that will change in the future, as he has his sights set on offering more support.

Sweeney says his career in real estate has made his work with MS is BS possible. Thanks to a flexible schedule and the way real estate has engrained him further into his community, the organization has space to thrive. His networking with other professionals and businesses brings more people into the MS is BS fold, amplifying the nonprofit’s message.

“The ultimate goal is to create community,” he says. “I’d love to include more support for patients and provide group sessions or events where MS patients and their families can come together.”

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