Pushing the Limit When You Have Multiple Sclerosis

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Physical exercise for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been a hot topic over the last few years. While exercise is always encouraged to promote a healthy lifestyle and to increase physical function, many are still unaware of the types of exercise that can benefit those with MS.

At the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) conference last month, I attended a number of wonderful programs regarding exercise and MS, affirming the importance of an exercise routine. Many discussions were had regarding the level of physical activity and ways to work and improve the body’s ability.

In a recent article published by the Rocky Mountain MS Center, Dr. Timothy Vollmer discusses the importance of pushing oneself to the point of fatigue once a week during exercise. Similar to how a person might train for a marathon or endurance sport, Dr. Vollmer explains that when exercising using a normal routine, in order to see improvement one needs to push the limit of exertion once a week. By pushing the body’s limit, the body adapts and grows, making the activity less strenuous over time.

In many meetings at CMSC, researchers also discussed the idea of working the body to physical exertion. This is a major change in the minds of those in the MS community. Although the importance of exercise is stressed, research has not yet described the level of exercise that may be effective. I look forward to seeing how the paradigm shifts from “taking it easy” to “pushing beyond your limit” and what the research has to offer the MS community.

It is always recommended to start and continually monitor your fitness routine with a professional such as a physical therapist (PT). The PT can help determine your body’s capabilities and knows what your body’s limits are. A safe and effective fitness routine may help to improve physical function and promote a better quality of life.

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Swim Cap Giveaway – Sign Up to Swim for MS

swim cap giveaway

Temperatures are rising across many parts of the country, and people with and without MS will soon be looking for a way to keep cool or have fun in the summer sun. Therefore, now may be the perfect opportunity to start learning more about MSAA’s Swim for MS initiative.

Swim for MS is a national fundraiser in which volunteers are encouraged to create their own swim challenge while recruiting online donations to support the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) and the MS community. Swim for MS is unique because MSAA does not plan the event – you do! Your fundraiser can be as unique as you want it to be.

Your own Swim for MS fundraiser can take many different forms. Many individuals participate in ongoing Swim for MS fundraisers as well as in one-day events. Some choose to swim outdoors, while others love the convenience of an indoor pool. In addition, many Swim for MS fundraisers involve teams filled with passionate swimmers who all have one goal in mind – improving lives for the MS community. You can see several examples of such fundraisers by visiting SwimForMS.org.

MSAA is also pleased to announce that we are giving away Swim for MS swim caps to every participant who registers for Swim for MS in May! Sign up within the next ten days to receive your official Swim for MS welcome kit, as well as our new Swim for MS swim cap! In addition to the swim cap in May, we have added one more surprise Swim for MS item to registration boxes this month. You’ll just have to register to find out what it is!

Besides the Swim for MS fundraising component, Swim for MS also features an online Aquatic Center, which contains resources for people living with MS who wish to learn more about how aquatic exercise can benefit them. For individuals who may have difficulty with traditional land-based activities, the unique properties of water combined with its cool temperature can create an inviting and sometimes ideal exercise environment for people with MS. Visit the online Aquatic Center to learn more.

Visit SwimForMS.org to learn more

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Swim for MS News – July 2013

The July 2013 Winners are…
Missy Franklin Autographed Photo:
Congratulations Julia, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of June!

Swimsuit Prize:
Congratulations Kara for winning a Swim for MS swimsuit! This suit was designed and made by HARDCORESWIM!

How do I Swim for MS?
Go the Distance – Individuals or teams set a challenge goal to swim a certain amount of laps, distance, or time during one day or over a set period of time.

Make a Splash – Participants turn fun pool activities into exciting fundraisers such as pool volleyball tournaments, cannonball jumping contests, and more!

How do I receive Community Service Credit?
If you or someone you know needs to fulfill community service hours – Swim for MS! Swim for MS is a “virtual volunteer opportunity” – this means that you contribute as much time as you can – when you can!

  • Register online at SwimForMS.org.
  • Set your challenge goal – Swim 100 laps in 10 hours and raise $150.
  • Ask your friends and family to support your cause.
  • Keep a log of hours swam and track your progress on your page.
  • Once completed, email swim@mymsaa.org to receive a confirmation letter of your hours!

Swim for MS Swimsuit Partnership
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits! HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in the USA. Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

In Other News
Please visit our Swim for MS News section on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

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IRONMAN Part 2 – Race Day

By Lyle Anderson

The race started out great. But about 15 minutes into the swim portion of the race  a freak windstorm blew in. Winds were in excess of 50 mph. For those of you that don’t know an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed up by a full marathon. As the winds picked up, so did the waves! I felt like I was swimming in the ocean. We had 4- 5 foot waves. All of the swim support that was in kayaks and paddle boards were having to get rescued, as they were being tossed out of their boats. Swimmers were quitting by the hundreds!! I knew this could possibly be the only chance I ever get to do a full Ironman. So I made a decision to stick it out and finish the swim.

When I got out of the water I was expecting them to tell me good job, but we are cancelling the event. However that is not what they said and I was amazed that I had to get on my bike now and ride in these winds (which were now in excess of 60 mph). As I started riding my bike, I couldn’t help but wish I were back in the water. That swim seemed easy now compared to this bike ride. I had to dig really deep to fight off the battle within my mind to quit. For 112 miles I kept saying to myself I will just keep riding until someone asks me if I want to quit. Since that never happened I just kept of going. I finished the bike portion with only 10 minutes to spare to the cut off.

Now all I had left to do was run 26.2 miles. Believe it or not this was the easy part. I felt surprisingly good and knew at this point that I would finish. It was so refreshing to be off the bike. I wasn’t moving very fast but at this point I didn’t need to. We are allowed 17 hours to complete the full event. I finished in 16 hours and 5 minutes. As I ran across the finish line I heard the announcer say “Lyle Anderson from Hurricane, Utah YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”  That phrase still to this day rings in my head like it was yesterday.

Because of this I was thrilled to make it to the final round of the Kona Inspired contest, which provides seven slots to individuals with inspiring stories of overcoming personal adversity for the IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.  For those of you who don’t know – the Kona Iron Man Triathlon is  like the Super Bowl of Triathlons. This is an event that the best of the best go to. Qualifying for Kona is not a realistic goal for me to try and achieve at this point in my life.  But through, the Kona Inspired program, which was introduces in 2012, I have a chance to get there and you can help me. Now through July 8th, 2013 you can vote for my video at: http://konainspired.thismoment.com?x=us-en_kona_821_.

Running and participating in Triathlons has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities I never knew existed before. I realize now that anything is possible with a little work and mental preparation.

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An IRONMAN – Part I

By Lyle Anderson

Ironman

I was born and raised in Richland, Washington.  My family moved to Southern Utah in 1993,  where I still live to this day.  I have been married for 16 years and have four beautiful children.  I was introduced to running about seven years ago.  After being diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) on my 30th birthday, I decided I still had a few things I wanted to accomplish in my life while I still have the ability to do so.

When I was first diagnosed I could barely walk.  My legs just wouldn’t cooperate with me. My eyes weren’t working right either which made things even more difficult. When my doctor first diagnosed me with MS she told me I could be in a wheelchair in 5 – 10 years. Looking back I’m sure she was just trying to give me a “worst case” scenario. I was totally devastated! My wife was pregnant with our 3rd child at the time and all I could think of was my wife’s Aunt, who also has MS and has been in a wheelchair the whole time I have known my wife. I had so much I wanted to do still in my life.  I guess this was the kick in the pants I needed to get my life back on track.  I started taking Rebif along with steroid infusions.  After a few weeks the numbness went away and my motor functions improved.

In 2010 with a little motivation from my father-in-law I ran my first full Marathon.  Since then I have completed 7-full marathons, 8-half Ironman distance races, 12-Olympic Triathlons, 7- Sprint Triathlons, 38-half marathons and more 5k’s and relays than I care to list. To top it all off in 2012 I decided to do the full St. George Ironman. This decision wasn’t something I thought I would ever want to do. However, they announced this was going to be the last year for the full race and I didn’t want to have any regrets if I missed it. With the encouragement of friends and family I signed up. The training was way harder than I ever thought it would be. But I took one workout at a time and before I knew it race day was here!

*Tune in tomrrow for Part II of Lyle’s story.

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Happy First Day of Summer!

While for many the “unofficial” start of summer is Memorial Day weekend, today is the summer solstice, which is the astrological start of the summer season. Typically this is the longest day of the year. This doesn’t mean our day has more than 24 hours in it – we just have more sunlight than any other day.

So what better way to enjoy all that sunlight than to jump into the pool for Swim for MS?!AWP_2012-MissyFranklin-7816

For those of you who do not know, Swim for MS is MSAA’s signature volunteer initiative which allows individuals to create their own swimming fundraising event while recruiting online donations to support MSAA’s mission of improving lives today.

How can you Swim for MS?IMG_5562

  • Host a summer pool party on the weekend!
  • Set a goal to swim 500 laps throughout the summer to raise $1,000!
  • Create a pool volleyball tournament with your friends!
  • Host a July 4th Pool Party
  • Participate in Swim for MS and pledge to swim 100 laps and improve your fitness by the end of summer!

For more information on how you can Swim for MS, please visit swimforms.org!

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Highlights from the CMSC and ACTRIMS Cooperative Meeting (2013)

MSAA’s article summarizing highlights from this year’s Fifth Cooperative Meeting of The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) is now available. National and international MS experts attended this exciting conference, where the latest findings in MS research, treatments, symptom management, and patient care were presented.

Topics highlighted in this article include:

  • new and experimental treatments for MS
  • pregnancy information for women with MS taking disease-modifying therapies
  • emotional and physical findings in MS
  • and much more!

Please be sure to take a look at this article that covers many important topics presented at this unique meeting.

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Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope – Part 3

By Tana Campbell

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I decided to participate in this half marathon at my son’s urging. It was his idea totally, but it gave me a feeling of worth and something to look forward to. We made MSAA the beneficiary charity since I have multiple sclerosis (MS), and with lots of support we were able to raise over $4,500 to donate to a worthy organization. The race was a test of endurance and perseverance for both my son and I. My greatest fear was having muscle spasms in my leg; but despite the long ride, rough spots, bumps and elevated bridges, I came through the experience unscathed. I had no aftereffects other than being slightly sore the next day, and I was probably in better shape than my son and those that ran with us. It was an enjoyable ride, something I wouldn’t have gotten to do or places I wouldn’t have gotten to see if it hadn’t been for my son’s willingness to push me in this marathon. Like many, I deal with MS on a daily basis with the use of a rollator/walker/cane/wheelchair for mobility. Being able to be a part of regular life was a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, a gift to me from my son. He’ll never know how much his selfless sacrifice means, but it was the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten and I’d do it again if the opportunity presents itself!

Watch Tana’s race video:

Read Parts 1 & 2 written by Tana’s son, Mark:
Read Part 1 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope
Read Part 2 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope

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Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope – Part 1

Written By Mark Campbell, Tana’s Son

424637_394864773961277_1025041170_nI was nervous…extremely nervous. I wanted to offer my mother an experience that she never had. Personally, I enjoy running; particularly, I enjoy running long distances. And I wanted to run a long distance with my mother. But how do you ask someone who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) to run a half marathon when they have trouble walking from the car to the grocery store? How do you convince someone with MS to believe that they can run in a race when they can’t stand unaided for more than a couple of minutes?  Eventually, I got up the nerve to ask my mother if she would let me push her in a wheelchair while I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles). At this moment, more than any other moment in the entire timeline of events, I was the most nervous. I was scared that my mother would laugh at me. Or maybe she would roll her eyes and say, “That’s a stupid idea!” or “We can’t do that.”  Imagine my surprise when, without hesitation, my mother said, “Yes, let’s do it!”

This is not the first time that my mother has shocked me. Throughout my whole life she made me proud, amazed and inspired. But this was an enormous challenge for her. There were so many questions: Can she tolerate the ride? Can she tolerate the length of time? Can she tolerate the weather conditions? Will she enjoy herself? Will she regret doing this? Will her painful leg spasms return from the jostling of running?  I had to remind myself that this is my mother and she has shown me time and time again that no matter the test she would prevail.

We targeted a half marathon that was local (Raleigh, NC) for us. I sent an email to the race director asking him if he would allow us to participate. He welcomed us with open arms and asked if there was anything he could do to help.  This was a tremendous weight off my mind as I envisioned some lawyer-speak about, “blah, blah, liability, blah, blah, insurance regulations, blah, blah, doctor’s note.” I wouldn’t have blamed him if he turned us away….well maybe I would blame him a little bit. Fortunately, we no longer had to worry about that. Now we had roughly three months to plan and organize our experience.

The first order of business was to pick a charity. The decision was made immediately. Mom chose the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). She said they have been so good to her, and the thought of giving back to them gave her a great sense of worth. We contacted MSAA and with their help created a donation page.

Then we blitzed our family, friends and business contacts for donations to MSAA in mom’s honor. Without a doubt, our best source of fundraising was through Facebook. Within a couple of days of promoting our event on Facebook, we received $3,000 in donations. People were so excited for us and they showed that with not only their donations but also their words of encouragement. We eventually were able to raise over $4,500 for MSAA, and that is our greatest accomplishment through this whole process. We even had three running friends ask to join us during the race. Mom and I just could not believe how this event was moving people, many of whom we didn’t really know.

The last thing was to figure out how to make Mom as comfortable as possible during the run. We are fortunate enough to know the owner of a local medical supply store. He loaned us the use of a great wheelchair that had more padding than a standard chair, could recline to numerous positions and had a single handlebar for pushing. It was the perfect chair for both of us. The planning was done. The only thing left was waiting for race day.

Read on for Part 2 of Tana Campbell’s Race of Hope…

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Swim for MS News – June 2013

New Swim for MS Partnership

Swim for MS swimsuits from HARDCORESWIMMSAA is pleased to announce our partnership with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits available for purchase. HARDCORESWIM is an authentic and innovative designer, marketer and distributor of premium quality young men’s and young women’s swimsuits, training gear, clothing, accessories and related products under the HARDCORESWIM name. HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in California. There are two different Swim for MS style suits are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

Anyone that raises at least $150 during the month of June and tags a picture of themselves swimming or in their Swim for MS t-shirt on Facebook or Twitter will be entered into a raffle to receive a Swim for MS suit! Please go to SwimForMS.org to register!

Facebook: facebook.com/msassociation
Twitter: @Msassociation #SwimForMS

Have Fun and Support the MS Community by Organizing a Graduation or 4th of July Swim for MS pool party!

  1. Choose a location – your backyard pool or local community pool.
  2. Decide the type of event – will this be a pool party or will you host a BBQ as well?! Be sure you have some games for in and out of the pool – pool volleyball, bean bag toss, horseshoes, and more!
  3. Create a list of attendees and create an invitation. Be sure to mention the date, time, location, and donation/admission fee. You can ask for a $5 donation to join the party!
  4.  Day of: Set up and have fun! Don’t forget to take some photos and ask the participants to sign our photo release form (email us for more information!).
  5. Within 30 days, please send the proceeds to MSAA at 706 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Be sure to include your contact information and details about your event!

 

The June Winners are…

Missy Franklin Autograph Photo:
Congratulations Akshaj, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of May!

Modify Watch Prize:
Congratulations Jake for winning a Modify Watch!

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