BEVERLY — Each year, on the third Monday of April, Molly Andruszkiewicz and her family took a drive down to Newton and found their familiar spot near the firehouse. As runners in the Boston Marathon raced by on the winding streets, they cheered, smiled and waved.
Andruszkiewicz, who turns 31 this month, will lace up her sneakers and make the arduous 26-mile run for herself this April. “It’ll be cool to hit those spots in the road on the other side of it,” she said of her first marathon race.
Two years ago, and five weeks shy of her wedding, the Beverly native was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) — an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body.
Andruszkiewicz, a physical therapist in Beverly, says she started noticing persistent blurring in one eye while exercising. As it appeared to get better, many doctors told her it was a sinus issue.
“I had enough knowledge to be a little more persistent,” she said. “I pushed my doctors to figure out what was going on as fast as possible.”
That persistence led Andruszkiewicz to catch her fist clinical incident of MS. Having immediate treatment, she says she’s now in a watchful waiting pattern. “I’m lucky that everything has remained very stable in the last two years,” she added. “I’m able to do anything I want at this point.”
Together, she and her sister Hannah Forman, 30, are running the 2020 Boston Marathon for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The nonprofit works on both the local and national levels to provide resources for those with MS and to raise awareness of a disease affecting more than 1 million Americans, says Andruszkiewicz.
The sisters, along with 16 other runners, were selected to be part of the team. Forman, an emergency room nurse, says she and her sister meet with their coach and fellow runners in Kenmore Square every Saturday to train.
“It’s been a dream to do the marathon together,” said Forman, who has run in four marathons.
Reaching the 12-mile mark, she says they continue to increase their personal mileage each week and support each other throughout the process, both at home and during their training meets.
“We don’t know what the future holds with MS,” Forman said of her sister’s disease. “She’s doing very well. She’s lucky; she has full function of her body.”
While each marathon brings along a different set of challenges, Forman says fundraising is the toughest part. In order to run, the two have to meet a minimum of $15,000, but she says their ultimate goal would be to raise $22,000 for the National MS Society.
Currently at $4,500, Forman says they’re hosting a fundraiser with live music and raffles at Mercy Tavern in Salem on Friday, Jan. 10. Donations are also available online through Facebook.
“Now that it’s something that will affect our family forever, it’s nice to be able to give back and work for a change,” she said.
To help reach this goal, their father, Stanley Forman, is auctioning off an autographed copy of his Pulitzer Prize winning photograph “The Soiling of Old Glory," which depicts the Boston desegregation busing crisis in 1976.
Stanley Forman, 74, a WCVB photojournalist who resides in Beverly, says it’s wonderful his daughters are on the team together. “Whatever helps raise money for MS and my girls, it’s for them,” he said of his donation.
With roughly 100 days to go until the big race, Andruszkiewicz says it’s still a long road ahead. Previously running in a half marathon, her dream is to finish the Boston Marathon and meet her sister at the finish line.
“For most people with MS, getting out of bed and showing up is their marathon,” she said. “If I can get out there and do it, someone else can too.”