Buffalo, NY

"At the age of 4 I was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder henoch schonlein purpura (HSP) which left me with a pretty crappy immune system. Making me far more susceptible to illnesses, injuries, and doubling my recovery/healing time compared to others.

At the age of 17, it reared its nasty head and flared up again. This time it was far more serious and far more extensive. One of the most memorable effects of the flare up was basically losing the function of my legs. I spent months bed ridden and either crawled, was carried, or wheelchaired to my destinations.

Over the years I’ve had many more flare ups and have actually been diagnosed with three other autoimmune disorders: secondary raynaud's, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis (so four in total), along with stage 2 kidney disease.

I’ve always been active my entire life: playing sports as a child, rugby in my mid twenties, and even racing two half marathons and two triathlons. Working out and staying active is what has saved me both mentally and physically. My autoimmune disorders actually require me to live an active lifestyle in order to keep me mobile. Some days I wake up and it’s definitely a struggle to get moving, but I always feel better after I get my workout in. I think because my flare ups render me immobile I don’t take for granted the simple things like being able to walk, run, bike, swim, etc…And because I never know when another flare up is going to occur, I feel like I need to be as active as possible. Since I never know when I’ll be deprived of my mobility, I need to make the best of it each and everyday. And if the day ever comes that I never regain my mobility, I want to make sure I can look back and say I made the best of it while I could.

Currently my specialist’s have found the right immunosuppressant drug for me, which has really slowed down my flare ups and actually has me in remission for the time being. Right now I feel unstoppable, and I can only pray that this lasts. I plan to keep working hard and to train for more races and competitions. Like I said, I want to look back and say I did everything I could have ever wanted.

I may need special medications unlike most, I may need a more specialized diet than most, I may need more supplements than most, and I may need to use more natural healing techniques than most. But all of that proves to me that: If there is a will there is a way, you just need to find it! Work hard and take your time..."