Climbing Through Multiple Sclerosis
Sep 30, 2015
Originally posted by the Elliot Lewis Center for Multiple Sclerosis Care
“I used to have nightmares about having trouble getting to places or falling and not being able to get back up. Almost every night I’d have a dream about not being able to get around. And I’ve noticed that now those dreams have stopped.”
[Danielle] learned that rock climbing requires a great deal of leg strength and endurance, and she assumed it would be extremely difficult because of her MS. Leg weakness is one of her most bothersome symptoms and she frequently relies on walking sticks to get around outside her home.
Although Danielle initially had no intention of actually climbing, she was curious to know more and went to one of Adaptive Climbing’s Sunday afternoon groups. Before she knew it, “I was handed the shoes, helped into the halter, and was asked to try climbing, only to find out that it’s incredibly difficult, and that I couldn’t get anywhere!”
However, the other climbers were extremely encouraging and quickly reassured her that she would improve over time. They were right! At her fourth visit, she climbed to the top of the 30-foot wall. She says, “…it is truly incredible to watch climbers with paraplegia, amputations and many other physical disabilities climb,” and it was their encouragement and resilience that motivated her.
One of the biggest things that the group has taught her is “not to let her body hold her back, but to learn to work with it.”
Danielle says that the most important rule is to “not think of yourself as limited or disabled, but to think of yourself as working differently with what you have.” Since joining the Adaptive Climbing Group, Danielle says, “I don’t feel as impaired as I used to. It’s a thrill to have that feeling go away.”
This Sunday, October 4th, the Adaptive Climbing Group will be running volunteer orientation and training. Want to get involved? Click Here to Sign Up.