When my Aunt Loretta was diagnosed with MS in the early 1970’s, Multiple Sclerosis was thought to be the wheel chair disease. In fact, my only memories of my Aunt Loretta were that she was in a wheelchair and could only mumble and moan.
When I was lying in my hospital bed with an acute onset of Transverse Myelitis and unable to walk, I remembered my Aunt Loretta and thought that I would share her fate. The whispers from my family at the bottom of my bed confirmed my thoughts that my condition looked far to similar to Loretta’s.
Fast forward eight years later and I am still doing the things that I love. I regained my ability to walk and can walk without the aid of a cane. I walk my dog twice a day, play with my kids and even run around and coach my oldest son’s baseball team.
A lot of this is my will and determination to not let MS beat me. The other part of the equation is that MS research and treatments have experienced major breakthroughs since the 1970’s. When I look around the MS community, I now see professional athletes thriving despite the diagnosis of MS.
Check out these stories:
Demitrius Omphroy is the first MLS player with MS: http://www.dailycal.org/2012/08/05/manifest-destiny/
Chris Wright is the first NBA player with MS: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/mavericks-sign-pg-chris-wright-become-first-nba-171738806–nba.html
Josh Harding is playing in the NHL with MS: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/sports/hockey/wild-goalie-treated-for-multiple-sclerosis.html
These are just three people that went on to become professional athletes despite a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Each of their stories is inspiring in that they did not let this devastating disease deter them from their dreams.
However, there are many people that I have met during my journey with MS that stay active and participate in some kind of exercise or sporting activity. These are everyday heroes that are winning the battle against MS and you can too.
I challenge you to be active and get out there and play! Don’t let MS be the crutch to keep you inside. Use your MS as motivation to get out there and do something special!!!