Inspire Me Today by Gail Lynne Goodwin –
Best of the Best Inspiration Daily
Oct. 31, 2009

Lori Schneider
Lori is an inspirational speaker and a mountain climber.

My goal is to empower others to move beyond their labels and limitations and live their dreams. Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. ~Lori Schneider

If today were my last day on Earth and I could share 500 words of brilliance with the world, here are the important things I'd want to pass along to others...

The Day I Woke Up Numb From Multiple Sclerosis

The day I woke up with a body half numb was the day my life changed forever. I went from a whole person to a broken one, with the placement of that one little foot on the floor. Nothing made sense in my life anymore and I became a person who had lost a sense of self. After wading through the tears and fears of what my life was to become, I stepped away a wounded person, with injuries so deep I felt they would never heal. I was bleeding from an open wound with no bandage to wrap around me. My heart was heavy, and my brain was aching from thoughts of what would become of me. I panicked and ran way from my life, fearing that I needed to gain independence while I still had my strength. I left my home, my husband, my job, my friends, and the sense of purpose that I once had. I slipped into the void of that deep emotional crevasse, unhooked from my safety lines that would have once pulled me back into reality.

As part of my need to escape my MS, I began to run at a pace that even I could not keep up with. I was determined to prove to myself that I was still in control of my physical body. Goals, which would have once not been important, seemed to drive me beyond my normal limits. Why mountain climbing? It seemed my need to escape was based on a need to be isolated as well. In the mountains, I could hide. There, I insulated myself with others who were strong, possessing a no excuse attitude. Climbing gave me the time to think, to process all the carnage left after my runaway. It wasn't until I stood on top of the highest point in South America, Mt. Aconcagua, that I reclaimed my life. It was a struggle to get to the summit set on a pile of scree and ice. My body was frozen, my vision was blurred due to a burst blood vessel in my eye, and exhaustion had set in. As I stood by the cross that marked the summit, that millennium New Year's Eve, I made a decision that would impact my "new" life, forever. I decided to let go of the shame I was feeling, from carrying that label of MS. I decided that if I was strong enough to stand on top of this 22,840 ft. mountain, I was strong enough to tell people I had MS. I was strong enough to face my life again, without fear for the future. It was time to live again. What I had feared with MS was losing myself. It wasn't until I left my life, that I really found ME.

Lori Schneider

On May 23, 2009, Lori Schneider became the first person in the world with Multiple Sclerosis to summit Mt. Everest and also the first person in the world with MS to complete the “Seven Summits”, by scaling the highest peak on each continent. Lori Schneider completed all Seven Summits, while living with multiple sclerosis. She is 53 years old.

Lori developed a bad case of wanderlust when she was 15 years old. She traveled to the corners of the earth in search of unique cultures, people, and challenging experiences. Lori graduated from an all-women’s college in 1978 and began a twenty-year teaching career, working with special education children, as well as kindergarten and first grade students. In 1999, at the age of forty-three, Lori developed something else. She awoke one morning with numbness in over 50% of her body. Within two months, it had spread throughout her entire body. The doctors uttered two little letters from an alphabet she had recited so many times - MS. When the crippling shock of the Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis wore off, Lori decided to accelerate her love of travel and mountains, and set out to climb the highest peak on each continent. With the highest peaks in Africa, Europe, South America, North America, Australia, Antarctica, and Asia under her belt, Lori became the First Person In The World With MS To Conquer The "Seven Summits". Lori’s message to adults and children alike, reminds us that if we believe, we can achieve.

Company: Empowerment Through Adventure
Favorite Charity: National MS Society