Firefighter With MS Has Been On Active Duty for 25 Years

Looking at Dan Pimenta, you wouldn’t know he was suffering from a chronic illness — but the 53-year-old has multiple sclerosis (MS). He was diagnosed at the age of 28 after experiencing numbness down one side of his head and body.

MORE: Three tips for newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis patients

According to a report on salemnews.com, Pimenta thought his life was over. He thought MS meant that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair and that he would have to give up his job as a firefighter.

Thankfully, things didn’t work out that way. His doctor put him on an innovative drug called Betaseron. His fire chief was willing to give him a chance to continue on, a kindness that has been repaid with 25 years of service.

As well as taking Betaseron, Pimenta also changed his lifestyle. He started exercising regularly and eating well, and so far he hasn’t had any significant episodes and has been able to live life to the fullest as a husband, father, and firefighter.

Pimenta decided to keep his health condition to himself for a number of years until he eventually shared the diagnosis with friends and co-workers. He even waited until his children were old enough to understand before he told them about his MS.

He now takes the opportunity to spread awareness and fundraises regularly for multiple sclerosis organizations. He recently participated in Boston’s MS Climb to the Top, along with the rest of his firehouse.

MORE: Find out more about Betaseron as a treatment for multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

2 comments

  1. FB says:

    Well – Dan Pimenta is one of the lucky ones because his life experience and clinical course of MS is far from what most people could expect if they were diagnosed 25 or more years ago. The problem with stories like this is that they can mislead people – usually those WITHOUT MS – to think that MS is pretty trivial. As I potter along with difficulty each day, can’t go anywhere without my walker, and can’t earn a living any more, it gets very annoying to constantly have stories like this shoved in my face – almost as if to say it’s my fault that MS is gradually robbing me of function. And there are plenty of PwMS who are doing it worse and tougher than I am.

    Stories like this should note that Dan’s version of “life with MS” is not necessarily the norm, even though it is now more possible with the newer drugs (providing PML doesn’t get you). It’s just another variation on the “I climbed Mt Everest” articles, and does not reflect reality for many/most people with MS.

    • Juliet says:

      I agree with FB somewhat. I was diagnosed at the age of 21; 30 years ago.
      Although I can still walk a little, I can’t walk anywhere without the use of my F.E.S. machine and, even with it, it’s hit and miss!
      Not many people do as well as I have done so far. There’s no way I could work; I have other debilitating symptoms, not just walking problems.
      I’m surprised that Dan doesn’t suffer with the immense fatigue that most people with MS do. I wonder if it’s possible he was misdiagnosed?

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