MS affects 2 million people world wide.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. One of the most devastating aspects of this disease is the variety of symptoms that can strike from out of nowhere and can come and go unpredictably. Patients may feel fine one day, be unable to walk the next, and find themselves partially or totally blind the following day.
Tamara's sister, Tonya was diagnosed with MS in 2003, 11 years before Tamara. When Tamara was first diagnosed her Neurologist advised her not to tell a single soul. He said that life would be difficult enough without people’s judgments. When people hear that you have a neurological disease, some just simply treat you differently. But there are many people out there with MS who are running marathons, having successful careers, and navigating around their disease to achieve their goals.
There are different stages and severities. Tamara has Relapsing Remitting MS. This is characterized by acute attacks followed by a return to normalcy for a period of time. She has 11 lesions in her brain and 4 on her spine. Her symptoms include Lhermitte's sign, a sensation of electric shocks shooting down her arm and spine when she lowers her chin. This comes from a lesion on her cervical spine. She also gets heavy "vibrations" in her pelvis and legs and numbness in her legs when running. The symptoms are manageable and subside with rest and she is determined that they will not keep her from completing this journey.
No one knows how the disease will affect them or how fast it will progress. What we do know is that we need to find a cure. All someone can do is decide to fight. Fight through diet and exercise, through disease modifying drugs, through meditation and realizing that your life is not over and that the fight can make you even stronger than you would have been before the diagnosis. I hope you'll join me in fighting for a cure. I promise you it'll be an exciting ride and we'll have some fun along the way!
After her diagnosis tamara wanted to just lay in bed but she knew she had to put her mind and body to the test. On the internet she came across the story of a woman with Multiple Sclerosis that climbed Mt. Everest. She said it was hard. Really, really hard. She had to stop more than most people because of the extreme exhaustion that MS can bring. But she did it! That was the first inspiring story Tamara came across. It wasn't the last, but that was the one that got her thinking.
Because that one story helped her more than the dozens of informative articles about medicine, exercises, diets and prayers. That one story showed that against all odds we can still achieve our highest potential! If that story helped Tamara so much immediately she knew that she had to create her own story that could reach even more people and inspire more hope. Dreams are the best antidepressants money can’t buy. Tamara felt that by demonstrating that she wasn’t ashamed of having a degenerative illness then others who were newly diagnosed might not feel so alone. At the very least, if everything fails and she finds herself in a wheelchair in 10 years, she’ll have had one hell of an adventure! So with a lot of preparation and a little blind faith she calls out to inspire you to ride with her and take part in the journey of a lifetime. To complete a horse ride across this country, and film it, we’re going to need your help... saddle up!
RIDE WITH US!
About Race to Erase MS
Race to Erase MS is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure for MS. Funding research is the core focus of the foundation and significant strides have been made to find the cause and cure of this debilitating disease. At the event’s inception 23 years ago, the absence of medications and therapies encouraged its involvement; the Race has been instrumental in funding many pilot studies that have contributed to drugs now on the market and other very important therapies that are improving the lives of people suffering from MS.
All funds raised support our Center Without Walls program, a unique collaboration of the world’s leading MS research scientists currently representing Harvard, Yale, Cedars Sinai, University of Southern California, Oregon Health Science University, UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins. This nationwide collaboration of physicians, scientists and clinicians are on the cutting-edge of innovative research and therapeutic approaches to treat MS. It is the hope of the Race to Erase MS that in addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, awareness will be created by educating the public about this mysterious disease.