Kelli McDonald's Page


MS Run the US - 2014 Relay

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kelli McDonald's Page

Relay Runner for the MS Run the US - 2014 Relay

What:  The MS Run the US - 2014 Relay is a 3,000 - mile relay across America to raise awareness and funds to help CURE Multiple Sclerosis (MS)!  The Relay begins on April 13th, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA and is completed on  August 17th, 2014 in New York, NY.

Sixteen (16) runners have been selected to run on average 170-miles over six consecutive days during their individually assigned segment.  Each runner dedicates a week of running on the road with the Relay, while collectively the Relay spans a distance and duration of 3,000-miles in 4 months.

Bio Overview:

I have been an athlete pretty much my whole life.  Dance, basketball, softball, swimming, triathlons have all kept me quite busy.  I am a mom of three amazing and energetic kids, Evan is 9, Faith is 7 and Alex "Bubba" is 5 and wife to a very supportive husband, Paul.  He knows that once I set my mind to do something there's no stopping matter what!   Paul and I moved out to the Plainfield/Joliet area in 1999 so I am very excited to be able to run a segment of the relay "home."  Last year is the first year I would say running and I became friends. I wasn't much of a runner so after having met Ashley and this whole relay thing got put into my head I worked on my running, a lot!  Last year that was my focus during my triathlons and it paid off.  So I put my hat in the ring and here I am...running.  I run because I can.  I run for my Mom.  I run because it keeps me sane.  I run to STOP MS!

Location: Joliet, IL

Segment: #13 Davenport, IA - Joliet, IL

MS Run the US - Chicago - 5K Run/Walk Registration Click Here!!!!

Runner Story:

Multiple Sclerosis has been a part of my family since 1989 when my Mom was diagnosed.  It has been 25 years since then and I've seen MS take a lot away from my Mom.  It took her ability to teach preschool, her ability to run, dance and walk long distances.  It has almost crippled her with Scoliosis.  It has given her pain and numbness 24/7.  However, MS has not taken her spirit and her will to fight this disease.  Twenty-four years ago MS was not a common household name.  It scared us to death.  But my Mom is resilient and smart and she learned about this disease and then educated us and so many others.  To say my Mom is strong is an understatement.  My Mom is AMAZING!  She truly is my hero!

When my Mom was first diagnosed her MS was relapsing-remitting and worsened with time.  She has done her time with Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone, the "ABC" drugs for MS.  When she was at her worst about ten years ago, she completed a year of Novantrone, a low-dose chemotherapy that halted her exacerbations.  Today she is secondary progressive MS (SPMS) which means the disease is now progressing more steadily (although not necessarily more quickly), with only having had a couple of minor relapses in the past several years.

In December of 2008 my Mom had a major spinal fusion due to MS onset Scoliosis.  In a very scary year my Mom went from having a 10% curve in her spine to doctors telling her if she did not have surgery her vital organs would be crushed.  A small construction site in her back cannot stop this woman.  She may bend differently but she still hasn't stopped moving!

In 2012 I dedicated my triathlon season to my Mom and those affected by MS.  I raised funds all year to help find a cure for MS.  I completed my first Half Ironman (70.3 miles) that year and finished my season in Columbia, SC (where my parents live) racing The Dam Tri in late September.  I donned myself in orange from head to toe and grabbed my Mom, wheelchair and all, and we crossed that line together.

I was fortunate to meet Ashley Kumlien at an MS recognition dinner in Chicago.  When she spoke it was like she took the words right out of my mouth.  That's when I learned of the MS Run the US Relay.  I was intrigued, but running was not my favorite thing to do.  Last year my main focus during my training was my running.  I was able to take a lot of time off of my Half Ironman and it all came from my run.  I also was honored to run with Anne Coffman who was a runner for the Relay last year.  After that run my mind was made up.  I had to do it. The next day I submitted my application for the 2014 Relay.  I could not be more honored to be running a segment of this Relay.  My Mom said I'm crazy for doing this.  I told her there is no one else I'd run over a hundred miles for.  As long as there is no cure for MS I will be raising awareness and funds to find one!!

UPDATED:  I want to thank each and every one of you that supported me during my training, during my segment, at the Chicago MS Run the US 5K and were there for me spiritually and physically!  My gratitude extends beyond words.  This was and still is an emotional event in my life.  This was life changing.  This was AMAZING!  Don't get me wrong, the training wasn't easy mainly because "I'm not a runner."  But when it came to running my segment it couldn't have been easier for I knew I had a cheering squad that spanned from California to South Carolina and Washington to Florida.  If it weren't for you all I'd have been one lonely runner.  Every day I would take time before and after my run to go on facebook and read all of your comments.  Those carried me through the next day.  And if it weren't for you WE wouldn't have raised over $12,500 in six months!!!!  Holy cow is that incredible!  What I learned the most from this is that nothing is impossible.  "I'm not a runner."  That didn't matter.  No fibular head popping out was gonna stop me.  What mattered was that I set out to do something I would have thought a year ago would have been impossible and concquered it!  Of course I have had a beautiful and inspiring woman who has always taught me to never give up.  And for her I didn't and I never will.  I love my Mom with all of my heart and some, and if all I had to do was run to see the end of MS I would. And I would run forever if I had to.  For all of you who battle this disease...I won't give up ever and I will run, bike, swim, walk, crawl (I did crawl just ask Kendra) and fight until I can't anymore or until a cure is found, whichever comes first.  All my love to all of you, who helped me find a piece of me I never knew existed and who helped me fight the fight!!


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