Champions of the Foundation
For Jennifer Blankenship, becoming a world traveler was probably not what she originally planned, but knowing that her life would be shorter than average propelled her to maximize the most of every moment.
Jen was a Colorado native, along with her three siblings. With college in both Colorado and California, she worked and managed in both the Health Club and Property Management professions.
At just 24, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but was determined not to slow down any more than necessary. At age 29 she married for the first time for seven years. After that dissolved, she says she met her second husband—the one she called her one true love and soulmate. They both were able to travel the world–Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico and Greece—being just some of the highlights. Africa hooked her, she says, because of the beautiful & amazing animals, especially Zebras.
In hopes of a breakthrough, she went to Costa Rica in 2010 at the age of 50 for a stem cell treatment for people with MS. While it brought back feeling to her feet, it also reignited more pain. In short, it was a disappointment. Becoming a vegetarian was part of a nutritional experiment she embraced to encourage healing, though benefits were minimal.
The final years for Jen meant a wheelchair and limited mobility, but she wasn’t yet done. She kept notes, and her sense of humor, and hoped to write an uplifting book about living with MS, chronicling the lighter, and occasionally funny side of her experiences, though the time for it was cut short. While the MS finally took her life in 2016, it never quenched her spirit, her zest for the life she had, and the delightful and passionate woman she showed to everyone.
As a Face of the Foundation, we are grateful that we were able to give her a platform to share her story about who she was as a person and what it was like living with Multiple Sclerosis. She left a rich legacy of memories emerging from her kind, loving and joyful personality.
My secret hope is to someday meet a cabana boy… with a dog… yeah that would be great.