BENEFITING: Transverse Myelitis Association
EVENT DATE: Oct 06, 2013
On September 6, 2005, I got up as I had done every other day in my 23 years prior. I was getting ready for work at a new position that I had only been in for less than a month. My first nephew was born just the day before and I couldn't wait to go visit him and my younger sister at the hospital once I got off work...so I thought! As I was getting ready for work, I went to the bathroom like most people do the first thing when they wake up. As I sat on the toliet, the rug beneath my feet started feeling funny against my toes. I didn't feel right. I went ahead and showered, but sat on the side of my bed as I started to feel a pain I had never felt in my life. I felt a sharp and shooting pain run up my legs. I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I ate or used. As I sat there in pain trying to figure out what was happening, all I could describe the feeling as was someone taking a live electric wire and attaching it to my legs. I finally realized something was really wrong, so I dialed up my then boyfriend to come drive me to the hospital. I sat huddled over in pain until he got to my door. I realized I had to go down and open door. At this point, I was in too much pain. I called for my aunt who I was living with at the time to awake and go open the door to let him in. He came into my room and tried to help me get dressed. When I tried to stand, my legs toppled my body to the floor that I had just stood on my own less than an hour prior to take a shower. At this point, he could not believe I was unable to stand on my own. At this point, we decided to dial 911. I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital. I was given a series of test (MRI, CAT SCAN, blood tests). I had never been hosiptialized before a day in my life. I didn't know what was happening to me. My entire body below my waist was not working. I could not walk, stand, use the bathroom on my own. I was devasted. After two weeks of testing, I was finally diagnoised with Transverse Myelitis. I had a leison on the very tip of my spine that affected my lower extremeties. I did not know what this meant. I cried everyday. I ended up being hosipitalized for two months. Doctors said my chances of walking again on my own were very slim. I was one quarter away from graduating with my undergraduate degree in Business Administration. I had to drop out of school that quarter. My life changed forever that September 6, 2005 morning.
I am here today, 8 years later. I am standing, walking and living independently. I went on to graduate with my undergraduate degree and received my MBA in December 2008 I have been working full time in higher education since 2007. I realized that I was not going to stop living at 23. I was determined that if this happened to me in my life, I was going to hold my head high and fight to live THROUGH it and not let it defeat my purpose for being in this world. I have learned to manage through severe bladder dysfunction and numbness on my right lower extremeties. I have limited function of my toes and walk with drop foot. Despite these changes in my life, I have continued to push forward. I continue to look for a full recovery, no matter what the outlook may be. Even then, I did not let this event stop me from setting goals, putting forth effort, and believing I can do all things through God who is the provider of my strength.
I am so proud of all the fellow participates for their courage and strength to share their stories and families. It is so empowering to hear how they have overcome obstacles many of us all share.
BENEFITING: The Transverse Myelitis Association
The goal of the Illinois Walk-Run-N-Roll Campaign is to increase awareness and raise funds for research and programs for individuals suffering from Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), Optic Neuritis (ON), Transverse Myelitis (TM) and Recurrent Transverse Myelitis, and their caregivers.
The first annual Illinois Walk-Run-N-Roll for the Transverse Myelitis Association (TMA) will begin with Registration from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by the Walk-Run-N-Roll and a Post-Walk Celebration. It will be held at beautiful McCollum Park, 6801 South Main Street, Downers Grove, IL. Proceeds will benefit TMA's research and service programs for people with TM, NMO, ON and ADEM.
We have reserved the large Picnic Pavilion which is adjacent to a 1.2 Mile Paved Path and a Playground with ADA- and CPSC-compliant play equipment. Major highways, including I-355, I-55, I-294 and I-88, are nearby.
Sign up before September 1st to get the First Annual TMA Illinois Walk-Run-N-Roll T-Shirt!