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Nickie's McDonald's Story- How a Young Woman is Fighting Back in the Battle Against MS

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Nickie's McDonald's Story- How a Young Woman is Fighting Back in the Battle Against MS

Uncertainty and unpredictability. This is what a Seattle area Speech-Language Pathologist faces each day. Nickie McDonald was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 31. She wasn’t surprised, actually was a bit relieved. Now she knew for sure that she wasn’t crazy!

For years she struggled with extreme fatigue, visual disturbance, dizziness, balance trouble, among many other unusual but vague symptoms. Nickie was working as a traveling therapist in California when her symptoms that she passed off as normal or caused by working too hard worsened dramatically. She couldn’t feel her right leg. Her face and arm were prickly and tingling. Something wasn’t right. She took herself to the emergency room after calling a local friend for directions!

She was alone, 1800 miles away from home, newly divorced, and scared. That ER visit resulted in countless tests such as MRI, lumbar puncture, evoked potentials, vials of blood, and many trips up the coast to see the leading specialists in the field. All alone, relying on co-workers and the telephone, she vowed to fight hard and never look back.

Her story is not unique. MS is a degenerative neurological condition that strikes in the prime of life. It is often diagnosed between age 20-50, affecting those trying to raise families and develop their careers.

Nickie has had an intimate relationship with MS. Not only is she living with MS, but her mother has been devastated by the disease. She has found immense strength through the National MS Society. She has shared her story with her speech patients, which has allowed her to develop strong relationships and see greater therapeutic returns. And most of all she is so grateful to have a loving family and great friends to support her.

Instead of hiding the disease like many people do, Nickie embraces her disease as a chance to make the most of life and help others. She remains courageous and strong. She is actively involved with the National MS Society, participates in as many NMSS events as possible, and had made it her purpose to raise important funds. The NMSS provides a huge array of services to those with the disease from new diagnosis through treatment. She says, “Living with MS brings new adventures each day. The NMSS has blessed me with opportunities for education, advocacy, emotional well being, and over all has given me a better outlook for the future. I can find no greater honor than to dedicate my life to sharing their mission and making their mission possible by raising funds.”

Living with MS is very expensive. Because there is no cure, it is a life long problem. The average cost of living with MS is approx $69,000 per year. Every year. Forever. Treatment is expensive, invasive, and miserable. Worst of all it is a treatment, not a cure. Patients endure side effects from injections/infusions that are often worse than the symptoms themselves with the hope that it will slow the progression and reduce disability.

Nickie’s latest adventure in her battle with this disease is the Bike MS tour. Thanks to her monthly Tysabri infusions and some physical therapy, she will be attempting to ride her bike for 108 miles over two days in beautiful northern Washington. Scary! Getting on the bike after a few crashes takes some guts! But it’s worth it.

So far Nickie has raised over $1700 while working towards $2500. She raised over $800 during this past walk event and hundreds more in past walk events.

This is a volatile economic time. Many face extreme healthcare costs and little access to the care they need. Even those with health insurance and working are struggling to get the medications they desperately need to save them from being devastated even more as the disease progresses.

This is why raising funds for the NMSS has become a passion. It has provided a way for Nickie to feel as those she is standing up to adversity and paving a better way for others. Please help Nickie reach her goal and provide necessary resources to others by donating today. Contact your local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to discover how you can become involved in the fight. If you do not know your local chapter you may find info about it HERE




Tags: Multiple Sclerosis OT PT Article