Kathy Kalish

I was diagnosed with MS in 2007, after treating preexisting auto-immune diseases. I’ve since
learned that treating one tends to activate others. At the time, I didn’t understand what
Multiple Sclerosis was, and was frightened of what it would mean for my future.

I am a stay-at-home mom, and was busy with my kids’ high school goals, community events,
college plans and ministries. I didn’t have time for MS. I was told that it would not truly affect
my mobility for 10-20 years; and that I should be careful, but to expect a decline ahead. My
husband and family were so supportive through my diagnosis and learning process. They gave
me the mental space I felt I needed; mourning the loss of my youth and vitality. I was not yet 50
years old, but it wasn’t long before I convinced myself that certain activities would now be off
limits.

I had never been known as an athlete, but I was active in my family life. Cycling, camping, a
walk to the beach or a hike in the hills were refreshing, even exhilarating. I had come to dread
the thought; it is more comfortable and less painful to stay home in the air conditioning. I
didn’t even want to walk my dog.

Seven years of inactivity later, I was intrigued by the MS Fitness Challenge, a new program
offered by David and Kendra Lyons. Of course, I didn’t dive right in, I’ve slowly tried to change
my attitude toward fitness. I work with Darren Barnes, who has been so patient; always aware
of my physical limits. He encourages and motivates me to push just beyond my comfort level.
When I try to quit, he keeps me coming back for more. I know that when I am sore from a
workout, it prepares me for a better future. Building my strength and endurance helps me to
prevent advanced disability.

I don’t expect to become a bodybuilder. MSFC has given me the tools to fight my disease. I can
focus on key weaknesses to aid my mobility and stability. I know I have to be persistent, but I
can foresee a stronger future. Thanks to Darren, David and Kendra for reminding me that I may
have MS, but MS does not, will not have me.

Wishing you much success during the MSFC national event in San Diego. I know how much it
can mean for future participants.

Sincerely,
Kathy Kalish
Orlando Florida

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