Like These Athletes, We All Should be Putting Our Best Feet Forward


It’s often said of the 2.5 million of people in the world who have multiple sclerosis that no two have the same symptoms. Indeed, that is why it is known as the Snowflake disease.

And the wide variety of symptoms can be well-illustrated by looking at examples of people at both ends of the mobility scale. At one end are those who cannot walk, or have great difficulty walking. At the other extreme, are those who manage to overcome their own difficulties and keep running — literally.

determinedLet’s take a brief look at some of those determined to be athletes, despite having MS.

In August 2015, on my personal website, I wrote a story about Kayla Montgomerya young American long-distance runner who competes despite having MS.

Seventeen months ago, I wrote: “Title after title, record after record have fallen to this young lady from North Carolina.

She says that during a race her legs go numb, starting with her feet and working upwards so she feels no pain but, of course, she gets hot from the exercise involved and that is something that all of us with MS know is going to exacerbate symptoms if only for a short space of time.

“At the end of each race, as she stops running, Kayla’s legs give way and she collapses into her coach’s arms. He carries her off the track and her temperature is brought back to normal using ice and water.”

In the Fall, the Paralympic games were held in Rio and Kadeena Cox, a determined British participant with MS, excelled. She won gold medals and world records as both a track athlete and a cyclist. I wrote about her achievements here.

Now, another person with MS is undertaking a massive and incredible challenge. Cheryl Hile is running seven marathons on seven continents in one year. You can read the details in an article that columnist Ed Tobias brought you in Cheryl’s story four months ago.

What all these athletes have in common is being determined to enjoy life and never give up. We all should have the same twin aims. No matter how we are affected by our multiple sclerosis symptoms, we all need to enjoy our lives and never, ever give up. Whether it’s running a marathon or taking just one step — and that is a figurative step — it is a step forward, an improvement, an improvement in your quality of life.

This article, written by me, was first published by Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

strap-new is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.


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