About the Campaign
Deanna: My story started when I was 14 any my brother was diagnosed with MS at the age of 19. For the next 14 years, I watched him deteriorate, wondering why. Then, at the age of 28, I was also diagnosed with MS. Knowing what my brother goes through every day, I refused to give in to the disease. I immediately started on medication and vowed to run as long as I was able. Over the last 4 years, some friends had run this relay and I got involved through them. Two years ago, I ran segment 6, running 166 miles in 6 days.
Well, my brother and I still have MS, I can still run, and therefore, I knew I needed to do this again. I need to show my kids what resilience and fight looks like. I need to show them that whatever gets in your way, you CAN overcome it! I will continue to fight as long as I’m able and as long as we still have MS. Luckily, I have friends equally as crazy as I am, and Kristi agreed to share segment 4 with me this year to allow me the opportunity to run the relay again. Please help me fight this MonSter!
Kristi: Growing up, I had two classmates who had mothers with MS, and when I met my future brother in law, his father was battling MS. While I wasn’t sure exactly what MS was at the time, their stories and circumstances were all different, and I always wanted to be able to do more for them. One you would have no idea they had MS, one slowly had more and more symptoms revealed over time, and one was was confined to a wheelchair.
When I first met Deanna, I had no idea of what she faced on a daily basis because to see her in an active setting, you’d have no idea she has MS! It’s hard to believe we’ve known each other for nearly four years now, and that our friendship began as we both completed a 70.3 distance triathlon as part of a 24 hour challenge fundraiser for this relay!
Our friendship has allowed me to understand more about MS, the ups and downs, and everything in between. Deanna’s drive and spirit inspire me on a daily basis, and we’ve had a lot of fun pushing one another through various training sessions and actual events. We’ve been there to help push each other, call it a day and just go get breakfast and/or coffee, or encourage one another to challenge ourselves beyond what we thought possible. If I’m honest, running this much scares me, but it’s something I know we can do together, and my way of letting her and everyone with MS know that we’ll fight this thing until there’s a cure.
The Ultra Relay
The Ultra Relay is an annual, 19 segment, relay run stretching 3,260 miles across America for the MS cause.
The Relay begins each year in April in Santa Monica, CA and finishes in August in New York, NY. Our relay runners are selected via our online application process to participate as an individual segment runner as a part of the 19 segment relay. To participate each runner commits to fundraising $10,000 over ten months and to running approximately 160 miles over 6 consecutive days during his or her assigned relay segment. Once selected each runner spends months training and fundraising with in depth help from the organization prior to the event’s start as they prepare to devote one week on the road while completing their segment’s miles. They are aided on the road by the organization’s road crew team. Each runner’s segment is logistically coordinated back-to-back as a part of the collective team effort to run across America. Donations raised support the organization’s mission to raise awareness of the MS disease, aid research, and to help those living with disability due to MS.