Alumni

One Friday night in May, Pam Lowery, W’76, got together with two dozen friends and about 100 loaves of bread, peanut butter, and jelly. They were there to make sandwiches — hundreds of them — to serve at a rest stop for Bike MS: Colonial Crossroads, an event run by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to raise money for research on the disease.

“People enjoy being able to feel like they’re helping,” said Lowery, who has supported Bike MS and another annual event, Walk MS: Fredericksburg, for the last three decades. “If they can’t bike 100 miles, they can certainly spend an hour making sandwiches.”

Lowery’s group of friends and volunteers comes together each year under the banner of Team Bruce, named for Lowery’s husband, who was diagnosed with MS in 1992.

“The disease just plain stinks,” Lowery said. “Bruce’s entire life has flipped.”

MS, which damages the central nervous system, has left Lowery’s husband unable to walk and requiring assistance for day-to-day life. Only a month after his diagnosis, Lowery heard an ad for Walk MS. Since then, Team Bruce has raised more than $700,000 for MS research.

Lowery, whose full-time job is director of technology in professional development at the University of Mary Washington, credits the “village” of volunteers who have continued to plan and fundraise with her over the years.

“I’ve always found that if you’re working on some project, people are willing to help,” Lowery said. “You just have to give them a door to walk through.”

After this year’s Bike MS and the marathon PBJ-sandwich construction, Lowery sent an email to rest-stop captains, asking who could commit to doing the same in 2020.

Just two days later, Lowery said, “all the spots were signed up for.”