By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Life just became a little easier for the Weinzierl family of Delano.
Wife and mother Jodi Weinzierl has extreme secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
Weinzierl is legally blind and has significant mobility issues and, until recently, transportation was extremely difficult.
Family and friends rallied together in support of the Weinzierls during a benefit at St. Peter’s Catholic Church March 14. The goal was to assist the family in the purchase of a handicap accessible van.
“Jodi’s fundraiser was a huge success,” said her sister, Lori Anderson-Tepley. “We served dinner to 460 people, and there were additional guests. Jodi’s dream of greater independence is a reality, thanks to this caring community.”
Now, Weinzierl can easily attend her children’s school and sporting events, something that most parents take for granted.
It was 1990 when Weinzierl was first diagnosed with MS, at age 27, and, at the time, the only symptom she experienced was occasional blurry vision.
When she met Andy Weinzierl in 1995, she told him about the diagnoses.
“I told him,” said Jodi Weinzierl, “and he just accepted it.”
It wasn’t long before the couple married. Three beautiful children entered their lives, Drew, Cody, and Jadyn. It was after the youngest was born that Jodi’s condition began to decline.
Eventually, she required a cane, then a walker, and since Thanksgiving, she has spent most of her time in a wheelchair or scooter.
As for her husband and children, she is grateful they are understanding and helpful.
“They seem to have a good grasp of it,” she said. “They do get frustrated sometimes, but for the most part, deal with it really well.”
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is a chronic, often disabling, disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.
Though one won’t hear Weinzierl complain much, she admits there are things she wishes she could do, and their new van will help make some of this possible.