One of the first things I did after getting diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis was Google “runners with MS”, “triathletes with MS”, “marathoners with MS” and anything related to “exercising with MS”. Many things swirled though my mind when I heard those words “you have MS”. This disease is so much about the unknown. Symptoms can hit in an instant without warning. I’ve heard of people waking up and being partially blind, or paralyzed, when the day before they were fine. I needed something to focus on, something to give me hope, and to be able to believe that it would be possible for me to continue running and exercising.
I was happily surprised to find a few articles and even a blog or 2 from athletes that have continued to remain fit and active through their battle with MS. Over the course of the past year and a half I have found even more encouraging stories and want to share a few with you. These are about runners with MS, however, I have also come across triathletes, long distance swimmers, a professional hockey player and a pro basketball player, that are also very inspiring to me.
Some of you may have seen the article about this 41 year old mother of 2 that just finished running a marathon every day for a year. I absolutely love this story and just might print it out and start handing it to people that think I’m crazy for running the 7 marathons that I have ran the past few years! Click here to read about her story.
I stumbled upon Dani’s blog, www.outrunningms.com, a while back and have enjoyed following her journey this year. Dani was diagnosed 2 months after I was in 2012 and was a life long runner. She has more than kept up with her running and recently completed what the Discovery Channel calls the toughest footrace on earth, the Marathon des Sables (MdS), a 156 mile, six day, self sufficiency stage race across the Sahara Desert. What makes this even more amazing is the fact that heat is known to cause Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to flare up, so I am still in complete awe of how Dani managed to control her MS while running through scorching temperatures in the desert. Go check out Dani’s website for a diary of her race, simply amazing.
Lastly, for now, is an inspiring story of Ashley Kumlien. Ashley is the founder of MS Run the US, a 3,200 mile relay run across the United States to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Ashley’s mom was diagnosed with MS 30 years ago and Ashley has dedicated the past few years to both running across the country by herself and now organizing a relay team who is currently running coast to coast all to benefit people with MS.
While Ashley doesn’t have MS herself, a few runners on the 16 member relay team do. Bill Sinak ran a 200 mile segment through Colorado and has previously run 16 marathons and completed 19 MS150 Bike rides, all while living with MS for the past 20 years. Michelle Jacobi who was diagnosed 9 years ago with MS is also one of the members of the team. Follow MS Run the US on Facebook to keep up with their journey across the country. They are currently running through Illinois, on their way to finishing in New York on September 6th. Secretly I would LOVE to participate and run a segment of this relay some year. I’m adding it to my bucket list!
These stories show how God can use even our toughest circumstances to bring about good things. Each of these people has inspired me more than they will ever know and I pray that I can pay it forward and hopefully inspire someone through my journey as well.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
What inspires you? Tell me any inspirational stories you know about.