The following is a guest post by Jennifer Pevec.
When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I could barely walk. The cruel irony is that my once powerful legs carried me through three half and two full marathons in 2004. A year later, I had to quit a career I loved in Marketing Communications. Running was out of the question. I could barely get around my own home or properly care for my two young kids.
The prognosis was not good. In those early years, I was in a lot of pain and was experiencing relapse after relapse. What started as pain and weakness in my right leg, now affected all four limbs. And the fatigue was debilitating. I was told that due to the length and severity of my symptoms, I would likely never run again. Obviously, my neurologist was not a runner and did not fully understand just how tough (stubborn?) us runners can be!
In late 2007 I tried a new aggressive treatment aimed at reducing the number of relapses and slowing disease progression. It took some time but it really helped me regain some of what I had lost. With the help of special carbon fiber leg braces, I started running again in 2009. I even qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2011 as a mobility impaired athlete. Unfortunately my MS flared up a few weeks prior to the race leaving me unable to run for much of 2011. As you can imagine, I was devastated. But I suppose it just made me appreciate the experience that much more when I got to run it in 2012 with my husband at my side as my guide!
As we get set for Boston 2013 (this will be my 8th marathon) and NYC 2013, I am reminded not to count my chickens before they hatch. MS can be cruel and unpredictable. And while it is not always easy, I try not to focus on what MS has taken away from me (or might one day take). Instead, I try to focus on what it has given me. I am especially grateful to all the people that helped me through some challenging times – my husband, my two beautiful kids, my mom and my family and friends. And I am touched by the kindness and support of so many others who generously supported our cause. Since 2005, we have raised over $75,000 for MS research. We will continue to do what we can to promote awareness for this disease and raise money for even better treatment options and hopefully soon, a cure!
Here is my fundraising page – your support is very much appreciated!
If you, or someone you know, is Running for a Reason, please send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it right here on this blog!