Why MS?


Alex Tanney is a current NFL quarterback for the New York Giants.  Alex and his wife, Rebecca, live in Bloomington, IL with their 18 month old son, Gunnar, and 2 month old son, Wyatt.  Alex and Rebecca both originate from rural Illinois towns and value the close relationships they have with their families.  Growing up, Alex always enjoyed playing sports with his two older bothers, Matt and Mitch and to this day maintains that close relationship.  Matt is currently the Athletic Director at Wabash College and lives in Crawfordsville, IN with his wife, Julia, and two daughters Katelyn and Lillian (9).  Mitch is currently the Director of Analytics for the Denver Broncos and lives in Aurora, CO, with his wife Ashley, son, Micah (4), and daughter, Kaisa (2). Alex and his brothers have each found their niche in the sports industry from a sports-oriented upbringing with their father, Don, being a high school football coach along with basketball and track.  It is through the support and guidance of their father and mother, Crystal, who have kept the family so close, even with jobs taking them all over the country.

Seven years ago, as Alex was starting his NFL career, his sister-in-law, Julia was in the doctors' offices trying to figure out why some new symptoms were occurring and what was the cause.  Shortly after those visits she was given the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.  Over the past seven years, Alex has seen the impact of multiple sclerosis in his family and Julia's life, and he hopes to use this event to support and bring awareness to the disease.

Julia's Story

Julia Tanney was diagnosed with MS in November 2012.  Prior to her diagnosis, the mother of then 2 year-old twins was tired. She describes it as "the kind of tired when you can’t get up...even to catch a child running into harm's way" - and she knew something was wrong.

After several MRI's and neurology appointments, the MS diagnosis was official. Unfortunately, Julia was also diagnosed with "Primary Progressive" MS, a less common and more aggressive variety of the disease. Unlike "Relapsing Remitting" MS, Primary Progressive MS turns every day chores, such as walking to the mailbox, into incredibly challenging, sometimes insurmountable tasks.  Although various medications claim to limit disease MS progression, there is no cure presently available.

Julia relies on diet and exercise to improve her symptoms and prognosis. She closely follows the work of Dr Terry Wahls, using “food as medicine,” to boost nutrition consumption by eating 9+ cups of vegetables daily. She also regularly swims to keep her muscles strong, while hoping, praying, and waiting for a cure.

Julia enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, and their twin daughters, Lillian and Katelyn. She is an active member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and School and enjoys attending Western Illinois University Athletics events.