Tanya James 2009

I have never known life without MS.  My mother was diagnosed in 1978 at the age of 28.  The prevailing attitude back then among the medical community was to diagnosse someone and hold their breath hoping they won't come back.  There was nothing that they could do to help.  She was given multiple different medicines.  "Try this.  You'll either get better, get worse, or stay the same."  She never got better.

By the age of 44 she was celebrated as the youngest mom in the nursing home on Mother's Day.  She could no longer walk or do basic things for herself.  By 46, she was bedbound.  In 1998, a few weeks before her 48th birthday, she passed away from complications of MS.  We thought that we were done with MS, but there was always a nagging question in the back of the minds of my sister and me: what if we have MS?

On September 23, 2009, that 'what if' became reality as Dr. George Hutton confirmed that I have MS.  At first, I was stunned.  How long until I'm in a wheelchair?   I'll will be in a nursing home in 15 years!  My life is over.

Once I could breath again, I started to realize that everything is different now.  First, there are now several different medications that are proven to help retard the advancement of MS.  Also, I found this group of people who are committed to fight MS in their personal lives and for everyone else.

'Because We Can,' we saddle up and train for the MS 150.  We ride for our own personal exercise to fight MS in our bodies.  Exercise is important to everyone, but it is especially important to MSers.  We ride for everyone who can't--for those are bound to their wheelchairs or even their bed.  If you look at our bandanas, they are full of names.  We ride to raise money for a cure.  We would love to see this disease go the way of polio - extinct.