When I need a bit of inspiration I look to the people around me. I look for someone who works at overcoming their disability and encourages others to do the same. Sue Reid, a key organizer for the MS Warriors – Canada’s premier multiple sclerosis dragon boat team – is such a person. Sue was diagnosed with MS over 23 years ago. Mother to 2, she has learned to live every day to the fullest and models that behaviour every time she takes her seat in the dragon boat.
About 5 years ago Sue was using canes to walk and was having difficulty with her cognition. She had difficulty reading magazines and found herself resorting to just looking at pictures. Sue knew that if she didn’t make a change in her life she would continue to deteriorate and soon be in a wheelchair.
“I think that it was a real wake-up call to get MS. It forced me to review my lifestyle and make better choices.”
With the help of one of the physiotherapists from the local MS Society chapter, Sue began dragon boating and helped form the MS Warriors. Sue loves being on the water and the physical workout and supportive community dragon boating offers.
“We laugh, we work hard, try our best but most of all are so thrilled and happy that we are able to do this.”
At first she could only paddle 30 seconds at a time. Five years later, she now races several times a year including a 3km race. Her favourite dragon boat moment was winning the gold medal in her division and walking through the arch of paddles at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival.
Although Sue still has MS symptoms in the years that I have known her I have never seen her use canes. She continues to improve her fitness level and now walks regularly, outrigger canoes, swims, and does yoga in order to stay fit and manage her MS.
Sue says the MS Warriors offers her a sense of pride through the achievements the team makes – and that the team gives her HOPE – something everyone needs. I say Sue gives me hope and inspires me to carry on.
So paddles up and a big thank you Sue Reid. You are both an MS and inspiration and a dragon boat champion.
Have a story about someone with MS that inspires you? contact me so we can share your story with others.