Today’s guest is someone that has worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness for the fight against Multiple Sclerosis in honor of her aunt.
That fight became a lot more personal after she was diagnosed with the disease in 2020.
I am looking forward to hearing the story of Elizabeth De Luca and how she completed the final leg of the 2021 MS Run the US relay.
Elizabeth De Luca is a self-described “late bloomer” when it comes to running.
She didn’t grow up as an athlete and her path to running was anything but traditional.
After graduating from college, Elizabeth went straight to business school.
Elizabeth quickly realized that she needed an outlet to help with the stress from her studies.
Her local gym had recently started a run club and the timing was perfect for Elizabeth.
She began to join the group but initially loved the social aspect far more than the running itself.
Running was an acquired taste for Elizabeth.
Over time, with consistency, she began to see the progress which encouraged her to continue with the sport.
A Sneaky Disease
In 2010, Elizabeth’s aunt was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The disease looks different depending on the person and it impacts both the brain and the body.
In support of her aunt, Elizabeth began doing various events all over the country in support of MS research and to raise awareness.
From 2010 to 2020, Elizabeth raised over $12k to help fight the disease.
Her world turned upside down on May 15, 2020, when she woke up paralyzed and blind on her left side.
Elizabeth had no symptoms leading up to that moment and immediately set out to find answers.
A couple of weeks later and a multitude of tests, doctors diagnosed her with MS.
Elizabeth was forced to make a choice: either let MS define her or make it her mission to move daily.
From A Hobby To A Passion
The journey back to movement for Elizabeth came through running.
Prior to her diagnosis, running was a hobby for her.
After finding out that she had MS, running became her passion.
Running became an escape for her along with helping to manage her symptoms.
It provided Elizabeth with a sense of control when she felt like she was losing control.
Elizabeth was aware of MS Run the US long before her own diagnosis, due to her involvement in trying to fight the disease.
Elizabeth had applied to be on the 2021 MS Run the US relay team before her own diagnosis in 2020.
Her admittance on the team coincided with her own diagnosis.
MS Run The US
There was zero doubt in Elizabeth’s mind that if she was accepted on the team she would take on the challenge even with her health being in question.
She wanted to do the relay more than ever because she doesn’t know what the future holds for her health.
The training was challenging, but through it, all Elizabeth didn’t miss one single training day.
All of the days weren’t great, but she was determined to stay committed.
In order to stay on track, Elizabeth had to prioritize her training and be creative at times.
Some of her creativity and prioritizing included running at 4:15 a.m. along with getting miles in at an airport while traveling.
Just showing up was the biggest part of training.
Elizabeth was slotted to run the final leg of the MS Run the US relay from Pennsylvania to New York City.
Though she was feeling a lot of emotions, Elizabeth knew she was prepared physically for the challenge.
The hardest part of the relay was staying strong mentally.
Elizabeth found that staying focused and present helped her get through each segment.
Each day brought a new sense of accomplishment which helped to keep her moving forward.
Her recovery after the event went about as she expected.
Elizabeth focused on stretching and active recovery and within 2 weeks she felt fully recovered.
Find Your Purpose
Elizabeth has had a few months to reflect on her completion of the MS Run the US relay.
The event provided her with a sense of purpose along with driving awareness and raising money for a cause that is so personal to her.
She found that a strong purpose is stronger than any excuse.
A common question that Elizabeth often gets is how she did it.
Her response is to decide how bad you want something and then proceed accordingly.
MS has been a catalyst to Elizabeth leading her best life.
She wants to ensure she takes every opportunity because no one knows what the future will hold.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Stay connected with Elizabeth De Luca by following her on Instagram.
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