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What if I'm not Super-Human?

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The list of public figures with MS is wide ranging, including journalists, musicians, athletes, movie stars, and many more. The latest disclosure being NASCAR racer Trevor Bayne.

In 2011, Mr. Bayne was the youngest driver in NASCAR history to win the Daytona 500. Following symptoms of numbness in his arm during a race, Mr. Bayne had been unable to race for two months, during which he experienced blurred vision, nausea and fatigue. After being cleared by physicians to race in the 2014 championship races, Mr. Bayne explained that he isn't taking medication and expects no changes in lifestyle, according to USA Today.

Celebrities With MS:

  • Hockey fans are very excited to watch NHL goaltender Josh Harding, who's season is off to an excellent start. To many, this stellar performance was a surprise following his announcement last season of being diagnosed with MS. In fact, Mr. Harding is in contention to represent Team Canada in the next Olympic Games.
  • French skydiver Marc Koop, 55, who also is living with MS, recently completed an awe inspiring jump from an aircraft at an altitude of 32,000 feet before landing on Mount Everest.
  • English media personality Jack Osborne, announced he was diagnosed with MS within two weeks of the birth of his child. Mr. Osborne later went on to be participate in “Dancing with the Stars,” where he reported training 7 days per week totaling at least 40 hours per week for this event.

After so many years of portraying MS as the “crippling disease of young adults,” it is very refreshing to have so many positive figures for our children and the newly diagnosed. They serve as shining beacons of the combination of hard-work with proper medical care, those living with MS can accomplish things never once before possible.

Are They Super-Humans?

After hearing about all of these celebrities and athletes conducting feasts of great endurance and talent, one can feel inadequate at times. Sure they are a little younger than myself. But, there's more to it. After all, if Mr. Bayne can manipulate hairpin turns at the Daytona 500, why does it take every ounce of energy to be able to drive five minutes to the pharmacy to pick up my medication? While Mr. Harding can stop a hockey puck with cat like reflexes, why can't I get my pills from my hand to my mouth without spilling half of them on the floor? And Mr. Osborne, after your self-reported training regimen of approximately six hours per day, even many collegiate varsity athletes would be left gasping for air.

The Rest of the Story

These sound bites scattered on the news, or the bits of information passed from person to person, only capture these amazing feats. Yet, all of us living MS are on our own, unique journey. Nobody should be expected to reveal the specifics of their illness or consider themselves less of a fighter because they can't train for 40 hours a week.

You need to push yourself to your own limits. Don't compare yourself to other MSers because even they need help.

As reported by NPR, Mr. Kopp was quoted, by Agence France-Presse, as saying following the skydive "I feel very happy. I am exhausted but very happy... There were many times in the last few days when I thought I wouldn't be able to realize my dream."  I am sure he is elated, considering the challenges he has faced to make this attempt. He was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Since then, he has gradually lost the use of most of his right side.

He traveled on horseback, to reach the heliport where he took off to make his jump. This is quite grueling journey for a man who often uses a wheelchair.  He also did his leap as part of a tandem team, where he was tethered to an experienced skydiver. They both landed on a specially prepared platform, at about half of Everest's height of 29,029 feet. Then they had to still get off the mountain and back home, where he is a leader of a support group for others living with MS.

Raising Awareness

All of this public disclosure can have profound and lasting effects upon the public's awareness of multiple sclerosis. Every day people are talking about it. Money is being raised for research and charitable donations.

We need to all work together to inform our friends, family and the media that MS is an extremely variable and individualistic illness. In fact, it is often called a designer illness. Most people living with MS fall somewhere in the middle of spectrum. Typically, we are neither professional athletes living MS nor do we feel that one cannot pursue their dreams simply due to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Set goals that are realistic for you, and go after them!

Last Updated:11/13/2013
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Date: 11.12.2018, 00:40 / Views: 91563