Kelli McDonald - 2015 MS Run the US Relay


MS Run the US - 2015 Relay

Los Angeles, California

Kelli McDonald - 2015 MS Run the US Relay

Relay Runner for the MS Run the US - 2015 Relay

What:  The MS Run the US - 2015 Relay is a 3,000 - mile relay across America to raise awareness and funds to help CURE Multiple Sclerosis (MS)!  The Relay begins in April  2015 in Los Angeles, CA and is completed in August  2015 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 am a mom of three amazing and energetic kids, Evan is 10, Faith is 8 and Alex "Bubba" is 6 and wife to a very supportive husband, Paul.  Paul and I moved out to the Plainfield/Joliet area in 1999 so I am very excited to be able to run Segment 13 of the relay "home" again.  Although I still wouldn't consider myself a runner there is nothing I wouldn't do to help find a if running is what I have to do then running it is.  On top of my running I also love to compete in triathlons.  I run to STOP MS!

Hometown: Lansing, IL

Location: Joliet, IL

Segment:  150 miles in five days Segment #13 Davenport, IA - Joliet, IL

Register for the MS RUN THE US CHICAGO 5K Here!

Runner Story:

Last year was my first year as a relay runner for MS Run the US.  When I had originally signed up for this relay I thought once and done.  Little did I know the impact it would have on me would change all of that!  The last day of the relay was absolutely the hardest day.  I honestly did not want to pass the baton on!  I wanted to keep running.  It was such an amazing experience that I will continue to run as long as I can.  This segment takes me home.  It brings me back to the people that carried me through while I was training and fundraising.  The support that I received from my friends and family as well as the community were more than I was ever expecting.  It was amazing to say the least. 

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-five 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.  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 decade. 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!

I was fortunate to meet Ashley Kumlien at an MS recognition dinner in Chicago  a few years back.  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. If you all think I am crazy she is crazier, having ran this entire relay by herself in six months.  I guess if you want to be crazy, surround yourself with crazy people...and I know a lot of them!  Mine and Ashley's stories paralleled eachother.  I'd do anything for my Mom and so would she.  She ran and I tri'd.  We both raise money to help find a cure.  Ashley has a heart of gold and is so amazing!  She is doing great things!  When my Pastor learned of what I was doing she simply said, "this is God's work."  If that didn't ring strong in my soul nothing would.  I was touched beyond words when she said that to me. Just so you all know...I'm not going anywhere any time soon!

I do 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 in 2014 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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