Lyndsay Wright is the perfect blend of stubbornness and positivity. Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at just 18 years old, she has spent nearly the past 10 years joining every physically-demanding fundraiser for MS you can think of, pushing her limits and often with a smile on her face.
Not to say that being diagnosed with MS wasn’t devastating or a shock. Back in 2008, the West Milford, New Jersey, resident had fallen on black ice and had tingling in her feet. Lyndsay thought she might have gotten frostbite somehow, but a doctor’s visit revealed something she never expected: She had multiple sclerosis. “The thoughts go through your head, ‘Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?’” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
The 28-year-old said it took her about a year to feel comfortable enough to share her story of having MS with others. She decided to try the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Walk MS, a national walk to raise money for MS research, and was hooked. Lyndsay started her own walking team, Demyelinate This, in 2008. “The protective coating on your brain and spinal column is covered by myelin,” she explains. “So as the disease progresses and attacks that myelin, it gets rid of it. I named my team Demyelinate This because we’re a strong bond — you know, try and break us apart. You can’t do it.”
Along with Walk MS, Lyndsay also does Muckfest MS (a fun mud run with obstacles), the 100-mile Bike MS, and more. Raising money for MS research is something Lyndsay is passionate about and that passion is contagious: Lyndsay’s employer, Berkeley College, has sponsored her in the Walk MS event for the past two years. She also has a partnership with Shake Shack, who created the Creamsicle Shake for MS Awareness Week in March and donates $2 from every purchase to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“I’m making an impact, and we’re helping end MS,” says Lindsay, who likes to wear a T-shirt that says, “MS Messed with the Wrong Girl.”
While there are 2.3 million people worldwide who have MS, one diagnosis hit particularly close to home: Lyndsay’s brother Chris Wright was also diagnosed with MS at 29 years old, 7 years after his sister’s diagnosis. Lyndsay says that, in a way, she’s glad she was diagnosed first since it allowed Chris see how she was inspiring others to keep going despite the symptoms of MS. In fact, on March 4, Lyndsay and her brother, along with Lyndsay’s boyfriend, Eddie, climbed to the top of Rockefeller Center in New York City — 66 flights of stairs — for the first time to raise money for MS research. (Lyndsay met her boyfriend of two years at an MS event and now they do all of the fundraisers together.)
“I know that I have limits,” she says. “I’m stubborn. I push through them. I’m not going to let it bring me down. I’m going to keep battling it and I will win.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- ‘But you don’t look sick’: What it’s like to live with a ‘silent’ disease
- Hit with a debilitating diagnosis, she let fear take over. But things changed once she followed one key rule.
- From suicidal to ‘thriving’: Montel Williams details his emotional journey with MS