The unstoppable Brittney Kean
Brittney Kean has called Ascension Parish home her entire life. At 33 years old she is a member of over 58 genealogical societies and an active member of several organizations.
She is an associate member of the local Blue Star Mothers Chapter and the president of the local American Legion Auxiliary. She is a Daisy Girl Scout troop leader for the troop that she was in when she earned her Gold Award as a girl scout.
Last year Kean helped form a new chapter of Daughters of the American Colonists in Baton Rouge. She is the organizing chapter regent, and currently working on a project to replace information panels at the Ascension Parish Veterans Park.
She said that Ascension Parish is typically underserved by these societies, so the project was a way for her to help the place she calls home.
"I thought, it's perfect. I can do something to help serve Ascension Parish," she said.
Kean has qualified three ancestors for societies, which is a big feat considering the evidence she gathered in order to prove they qualified for that particular society.
"You have to really research everything around where you think your ancestor was to try to be able to prove that they were there," she said.
Her home is a reflection of her hard work. History lines the walls where Kean proudly displays her family trees. During her work she uncovered many interesting details regarding her family.
She has a few gateway ancestors which link her to European royalty, and she is related to both Pocahontas and Thomas Jefferson.
In order to understand Kean's drive to uncover her genealogy and preserve her history, you would have to take a step back to 2014. In August of that year, Kean was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis one month prior to obtaining her Masters of Science in the Administration of Justice and Security.
"MS really effects the brain, and at some point I won't have the cognition to be able to do what I do. So, I decided to do this and preserve it [her genealogy] while I still have the ability to do so," she said.
Kean says when you are diagnosed with MS, you have to find your people, advocate for yourself, and above all persevere.
"[MS] gave me a new opportunity. I can be an advocate for myself and other people," said Kean.
"We just keep going, that's basically our motto. We do what we can," said Brittney's mom, Betty Kean. "You have to, you can't give up. But it's hard on a mama's heart."
Every year, Kean and her mother participate in Walk MS in Baton Rouge with their team, Team Unstoppable. This year Walk MS will be on April 25. If you would like to participate or support Brittney, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.