I am a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer, a triathlete, a marathoner, and an Ironman. I have MS.
Before I was 21, none of these were true. At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with MS. At the time, I knew little about the disease except that most of the people I knew with MS were in a wheelchair. I thought this was my fate and as a 21 year old with a full life ahead, this was hard to swallow. I began running and cycling, wanting to get the most out of my body while I still had the chance. What was first started out of what seems a necessity, has now turned into a passion. I no longer run for fear of losing my mobility, but rather for the enjoyment and challenge it provides. I continue to push my body, testing it both physically and mentally, wanting to grow stronger. Knowing I have the power to continue is what drives me.
I am running MS Run the US (www.msruntheus.org) for those that can’t. I am also running to provide hope and to inspire those that have been recently diagnosed or who are struggling. I want to show that a diagnosis of MS is not an end-all, but an opportunity to open new doors. The advancements in therapies over the past 20 years have gotten us closer and closer to ending MS, and I am hoping this opportunity will bring us closer to ending the disease.
Tobacco Road will be my 19th marathon, and this year will be the second time I have run this race. While I have hopes of running a fast marathon and possibly qualifying for Boston, I know that it is only a stepping stone leading up to MS Run the US. The event is a relay from LA to NY with 18 people. Each person runs for about a week before handing this baton over. This summer, I will be running 148 miles over a 6 day period in Pennsylvania. This will be an average of 24 miles a day, essentially a marathon a day for 6 consecutive days. While I know that completing this event and meeting my goal of raising $10,000 will be a challenge, I know that others struggling with Multiple Sclerosis face the challenge just as great on a day to day basis. If you’d like to follow along on my journey as I train, fundraise, and run MS Run the US, like my Facebook page, Run Through MS (https://www.facebook.com/RunThruMS/).