Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone – A Daughter’s Story

By Rachael Scharett

A father is a very important role in a young girl’s life. I remember growing up thinking that no one was as strong or capable as my dad, Dan Scharett. He worked hard to support our family. He built the house I grew up in and he even came home from work and chopped wood for the wood stove we used for heating. I knew there was nothing my dad couldn’t do. Then, when I was still quite small, the most shocking thing happened; my dad broke his leg while playing softball at a family function. He had been running to a base and when he turned, his one leg didn’t, and it snapped. While everyone else simply thought nothing of it, I cried nonstop. He was a superhero and to see him get injured was something I couldn’t comprehend. What we later learned was that he had been experiencing numbness in his feet and legs which ultimately caused his fall; numbness caused by multiple sclerosis.

As a family, we’ve spent 25 years watching his gradual decline. The man who could do it all slowly lost his ability to chop wood for the wood stove, he couldn’t climb the stairs in the house he built, and now he can’t even stand. Despite this, he still laughs every day. He jokes around with our family, friends and neighbors. He still pushes himself to do things around the house and yard that even the healthiest individuals would hire someone to do. It was his motivation and drive that inspired me to run the Dopey Challenge at the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon. Seeing him fight to live a fulfilled life despite his MS motivates me to do things I would normally consider too hard. I wanted to run with Team MSAA during this event to help raise money in my dad’s honor, so when I saw the Dopey Challenge, which consists of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon, totaling 48.6 miles, I knew I had to choose that event. I am by no means an athletic individual, but if he can push himself every day, then the greatest thing I could do to show my appreciation for all he has done for our family, is to run the furthest and push myself outside of my comfort zone.

I truly hope that one day a cure will be found for MS but until then, organizations like the MSAA are a great resource for families like my own. I am proud to be able to fundraise and contribute to such a wonderful organization…. My dad will be there when I cross the finish line, supporting me, just like he has always done; after all, he is still my superhero.

*Rachael is participating in the Dopey Challenge as a member of Team MSAA during the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®.  To learn more about Rachael’s run or support Team MSAA, please check out her personal page.

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Adapting to My Limitations and Doing a Marathon Anyway

By: Stacie Prada

I walked a full marathon. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say that. Before I was diagnosed with MS, doing a marathon was something out there that I thought I would do someday. After my MS diagnosis it seemed like a goal I would have to let go.

It’s all the more amazing and rewarding to me now since I wrote in my Life List post I had accepted that doing a marathon was something I wouldn’t do in this life. I thought marathons required that people run them, and my MS symptoms cause too many injuries when I run long distances. Surely 26.2 miles was out of the question now that I had MS.

Drop foot caused me to run off kilter and consistently brought on hip pain and injuries that took months of physical therapy to heal. When I complained that jogging hurt me but I wanted to do running events, my physical therapist responded, “You need to decide if it’s worth it.” She was wise to let me know that it was a choice I was making. It was then that I realized running long distances wasn’t wise for me anymore.

I decided to focus on other activities I enjoyed including walking and hiking. It was after a ten mile walk that a friend suggested I do the Portland Marathon where they encourage walkers to participate. I was immediately excited and signed up in January for the October marathon. Two friends also signed up, and we put together and followed a marathon training program that would allow us to not only do the marathon, but train in a way that would have us prepared and able to enjoy the entire adventure.

We usually upped our distance one mile per week. With 36 weeks to train, we had plenty of time to prepare. Internet sources educated us on how to train, and that was terrific. I’m sure we would have over trained if we’d come up with our own training schedule. We walked one long walk per week and did two to three other workouts each week of yoga, walking or gym cardio and weights. Sometimes we were ambitious and would increase our miles more than one mile per week. But we checked in with ourselves and each other throughout the journey to make sure we weren’t pushing ourselves too hard. The threat of getting sick or injured was enough to keep our drive in check.

We did have some physical challenges to address along the way. New shoes and socks, icing our ankles and feet after walking, coating our feet with Vaseline before walking, and staying hydrated helped us perform beyond our hopes. We started our training hoping to finish the marathon in less than the eight hours required. By race day we felt optimistic that maybe we could finish in six and a half hours. By the end of the marathon we were ecstatic to finish 20 minutes earlier than we ever could have hoped!

I chalk our success up to pacing ourselves, allowing enough time to train, making steady progress, paying attention to our bodies’ needs, and sharing the journey with good friends. We promised ourselves we would make sure we had fun every step of the way, and we did!

It’s empowering to accomplish goals even when I do them differently than I’d imagined. MS is full of adjusting expectations for the future, and modifying how I do something hasn’t diminished the enjoyment and sense of accomplishment. It’s made me appreciate the experience all the more.

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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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