The start of each year heralds reflection and inspires hope. As we embark on 2019 we aim to uphold Mvintage values by honouring individuals who inspire us and motivate growth.  Each month we turn our attentions to women who embody strength and devotion; whether through their careers or causes they hold dear. As a brand Mvintage strives to support women and create a community of empowerment.

Our first Inspirational Woman for 2019 is Maria Formosa; a pillar of strength, compassion and dedication. A devoted wife to her husband Bjorn, who suffers from ALS, Maria is a passionate advocate and volunteer in the ALS community. Her determination and love have spurred a commitment; forever changing her and revealing her life’s calling. Maria and her husband’s drive has proven fruitful; their resolve to raise awareness for ALS has resulted in public outreach and the founding of Dar Bjorn; a home for individuals suffering from ALS.

As an individual, Maria embodies our core values with an emphasis on Family. She represents the strength inherent in each woman. Her story is one of unconditional love. Mvintage Founder Krystle Penza paid a visit to Dar Bjorn to learn more about Maria’s story, her values and her relationship. Upon her visit she also gifted Maria with a few meaningful Mvintage pieces embodying the the qualities that we felt represented her; our LOVE Shield and STRENGTH Signature pendants.

1) Can you tell us about your journey? How did you meet Bjorn and what drove you to embark on your path together?

I had known Bjorn for at least 12 years since we were at Junior College where we had met as friends and lost each other through the years. Then in 2015 I was going through Facebook before falling asleep and I saw Bjorn's first interview on a news portal. The picture showed his full face; I couldn't read the article and not feel shocked. So I sent him a message right away. That was the start of it all; he replied back and invited me the next day to the Ice Bucket Challenge in Ta’ Xbiex to volunteer. From that day onwards he didn't lose hold of me!!! He would invite me to drive him around and help him in event organising! At that point in my life I couldn't be happier to do some volunteering and to also meet him.

2) Can you take us through a typical day of yours?

My typical day starts off with a quick shower, some quick housework and then of course waking up Bjorn; helping him shower, putting on clothes and everything needed and we leave our home in Dingli to work at DAR Bjorn. Our days are quite busy but never boring as our job has no routine; we meet people, organise events, check on our patients at DAR Bjorn and others who are living in their homes, do administration work etc. We are out the whole day till late and go back home for an hour of quality time and have some sleep for the next day!

3) Your dedication to the ALS community is inspiring. What is the greatest reward you have achieved from your devotion?

My greatest reward is of course seeing my husband happy and fulfilling his dreams despite going through difficult times. Also my reward comes from peoples faces who are thankful for our efforts in helping those in need.

4) What gives you so much strength in dealing with the challenges each and every day?

I don't know what does but thinking about it I'm sure its my love towards Bjorn. My mother has showed me so much devotion and love through out my whole life, that it has been instilled in me to do the same for the ones I love. I do feel awfully tired and stressed sometimes but that won’t stop me from going on to see Bjorn happy…never.

5) Who inspires you most?

I'm inspired by other partners or family members of patients I meet, who struggle in silence but keep on going. I'm inspired by Bjorn's determination, although his daily struggles continue to increase, his focus is always clear.

6) What quality do you value most in yourself?

I live to please the ones I love!

7) How do you maintain your independence?

I have learnt to place my independence down the ladder. I find time to spend an hour or two of fitness training twice a week but the rest I really am busy, enough not to think about my independence!! Although I must say I miss Bjorn the few times we are not around each other!


8) Can you describe the love you have for your husband?

I'm not so good at describing my love but I think it is shown through out our daily routines. I look at him and never see his disabilities; his inner strength, his intelligence, kind heart and perfectly able inner side do not leave time to look at his disabilities. He is my superhero!

9) If you could change anything about your journey would you? If so why/why not?

I would wish I had more time with Bjorn before his illness but its just a thought.

10) What scares you the most?

I'm scared of the emptiness my life would be without Bjorn in it.

11) What is your advice for tackling life’s unexpected challenges?

There's always a solution one way or another; one must take challenges as learning curves to better your own self, to shine through them and come out stronger than ever. I tackle my challenges day by day, putting all my effort in like there's no tomorrow.