LINCOLN — Daryl Warday inspired others during his two-decade with multiple sclerosis.
Warday, who died last month at age 45, gave motivational speeches and never complained even when he was saddled to a wheel chair, couldn't see a computer screen and his voice had diminished to a whisper.
“He was always focused on the good instead of dwelling on the not-so-good,” said his wife, Ann Warday. “That was just him. He was always looking at the other person and lifting them up.”
Thursday, members of two University of Nebraska-Lincoln fraternities — Alpha Gamma Sigma, which Warday joined while attending UNL, and Phi Kappa Theta, where Warday's oldest son, Kyle, is a sophomore member — will host a pulled-pork fundraiser to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Warday family. Organizers are planning for 800 to 1,200 people to attend.
“Daryl has been such an inspiration to a lot of people,” said Matthew Keller, Phi Kappa Theta's president. “We want to show support for the family.”
The idea for the fundraiser started with Alpha Gamma Sigma, where Warday had given motivational talks. Will Roeder, the fraternity's philanthropy coordinator, then approached Phi Kappa Theta about a combined project, just before Warday passed away in late September.
“Everyone's excited about this,” Roeder said. “We just have a strong focus for this philanthropy.”
Kyle Warday said he was happy to learn of the joint fraternity effort.
“It brings that brotherhood that my dad formed at AGS, and connects it with the brotherhood we have here (Phi Kappa Theta),” he said. “It's just perfect.”
Ann Warday said she wasn't surprised that her husband inspired the two UNL fraternities. She said he wanted to help everyone, even when he probably needed the most help.
During his illness, he kept his positive attitude even when he took a turn for the worse in 2008, forcing him to quit his job as a marketing specialist at Syngenta. He said nothing when he could only smell — but not eat — Thanksgiving dinner because of the feeding tube in his throat. And he sat with a quiet peace as doctors told him earlier this year that he had just a couple of months to live.
Ann Warday said she is grateful for the support her family has received.
“It got us through something that was pretty tough,” she said. “It definitely helps you get through the next step and move forward, as hard as it is.”