Mary Sypawka, diagnosed with RRMS more than 20 years ago, discovered her passion for water aerobics after retiring early and making herself a priority. Mary suffered from severe fatigue and found traveling had become difficult. Not previously a swimmer, Mary began in the pool with water walking and later moved into aerobics. She says simply that it “helps me feel better and I enjoy meeting people.”
Mary, who began disease-modifying therapy as soon as it was available to her many years ago, believes that staying active has helped her to maintain mobility and limit disease progression. She is passionate about encouraging others to try the water. “The hardest part is getting in the pool at first, but once you try it and discover how good it feels, you will probably stick with it.”
Mandy’s journey with MS began with a twitch in her left eye. While training for a triathlon, she began having trouble running and cycling due to heat sensitivity but found swimming to be “invigorating.” Only months after her diagnosis, Mandy lost her mother to cancer. She then discovered that being in the pool allowed her “to grieve more appropriately.”
Mandy joined the Why I Swim campaign specifically to reach out to the newly diagnosed. She remembers searching the internet and reading all the scary things about MS and facing the “what-if’s”. Mandy shares her story to let others know “how much better it made me feel and to give hope to people with MS.” Mandy believes that “just getting in the water at first” is important, but so is working with a health provider to get started.
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Inspirational MS Stories featured in SwimForMS Campaign, Sponsored by MSAA and Genzyme