31 Days of MS: Taking the ‘DIS’ Out of Disability

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31 Days of MS

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Photo courtesy of Heather Plummer-Goodrich

Day 8 of 31

This is Heather Plummer-Goodrich’s story:

Hello, my name is Heather. I am a nana of six beautiful grandchildren, a wife, and an ultra marathon runner. My mantra is: Never give up. Make adjustments, not excuses. Stay positive. When one door closes find another to open. Advocate for yourself. Be the best you can be.  

Prior to my diagnosis, I was a highly trained athlete. Long-distance marathon running was my passion. I was fast, strong, and competitive. I was told by coaches and peers I was “unstoppable.” Man, was I humbled.  

My intimate relationship with the “Evil Multiple Sclerosis Queen” began on Feb. 1, 2012. It was my 52nd birthday. I could not get out of bed. My left leg was numb. I could not get my foot off the ground. I was scared and lonely.  

I was blessed with a medical team and family that helped me cut through a difficult diagnosis of MS. I learned early on that one needs to be one’s own advocate. I had to figure out my recipe for wellness and happiness. I knew I was not going to allow MS to rob me of my dreams or steal my joy. 

There have been many setbacks on my journey. The evil queen has left me with cognitive issues, bilateral foot drop, and some not-so-nice other things. Through it all, I never gave up. I always looked for new paths to my ever-changing finish line.

Training and running is my happy place. Marathon running even with a disability has taught me perseverance and strength. I am not the “average” marathoner. I wear two AFOs, am an MS warrior, and run on an elite mobility bike called the Alinker. (I call mine Lady Belle.) This past October, I was able to achieve my goal of completing the Marine Corps 50K in regulation time. My time was 4 hours, 30 minutes, and 5 seconds — 4:30:5.

Dreams are important. Goals can be achieved. Taking the “dis” out of disability has always been my goal. I remain humbled and blessed to share my story. 

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or go here to see the full series.

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