MSForward is our fifth and final featured Omaha finalist in the 100 Year, $100k Office Makeover Contest. Founded in 2001 as Fast Forward, it was a sports conditioning provider for youth athletics. That all changed when Fast Forward’s owner and founder Daryl Kucera was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. In 2003, MSForward was born and now helps adults with MS stay active. Answers provided by Kathleen Healey, a nurse practitioner with a Ph.d in Neuroscience at the UNMC MS Clinic.
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Q: Why do you need an office makeover?
A: MS Forward is a nonprofit community organization serving individuals with neurological disease, many with significant disabilities. The gym is devoted to physical exercise. Established in 2003, it has served over 600 individuals. Membership is growing incrementally and “Daryl’s gym” is becoming a national prototype for others throughout the U.S. Daryl is in dire need of office space and equipment to better manage the exceptional growth of his nonprofit business.
Q: How do you devote ethical business practices to fulfilling your mission?
A: MS Forward has been in existence since 2003, serving over 600 members that have neurological disorders. MSForward’s mission to “improve quality of life” has been realized by many of those served. MS Forward has a strong positive reputation in our community. Many members of Daryl’s board of directors have MS or have family members with the disease. Ethical direction therefore is exceedingly strong.
Q: What are some positive examples of your influence on the community?
A: Since 2003, the MS Forward Gym has been devoted to physical exercise generally after formal physical therapy. Socialization and building strong friendships among members over time have created an organization with a “life of its own.” Membership is growing incrementally and “Daryl’s gym” is becoming a national prototype for others. Unique aspects of the organization are a strong IT component with tele-exercise, added community advocacy groups. To expand his services and to reach others, funding for transportation and programming fees were awarded through the MS Foundation and recent addition of a group of individuals with severe disability, that have been homebound for years are now actively participating in exercise, socialization and advocacy activities. Just ask any one of Daryl’s members and they will attest to the positive difference MS Forward has made in their lives.
Q: Please demonstrate your leadership.
A: Daryl Kucera has ethically, relentlessly and selflessly owned, operated and grown his nonprofit organization since 2003, armed with complete understanding of the needs of those he serves. Living with MS and disability himself, Daryl is acutely aware of the important operational aspects to move his initiative forward. Additional unmatched leadership skills are his contagious enthusiasm and positive attitude and excitement in moving his mission forward. I am a Nurse Practitioner, Neuroscience Phd, and Assistant Professor at UNMC MS Clinic, Neurological Science Department. I have worked with Daryl and refer most of my patients to Daryl for post-physical therapy exercise. He has inspired and clearly integrates his mission of improving the lives of those with neurological disease and disability. He has made a difference.