Name:

 

Sean Corcoran

Country of residence:

 

USA

Age:

 

49

Occupation:

 

Materials Science Engineer

Who is accompanying you on the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

Glenn Amdahl

When were you diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

 

 

July 2004

How has your diagnosis affected your life?

 

MS exposed the weakness in my marriage and it led to divorce. My wife at the time said it would be “too tough”. After that, learning to live with MS has made my life so much better in ways I could never have envisaged.

What is your current level of physical disability (if any)?

 

 

Nuisance symptoms. I still work full-time, can play my guitar, carry my daughter on my shoulders for miles. What more could I want?

Please provide a history of your disease and how the disease is now affecting your life?

 

 

The initial diagnosis led to anger and depression and that was exacerbated by poor tolerance for Avonex, my MS therapy at the time. I have been on Tysabri for the last three years and with some hard work and therapy, my life has turned around.

What are your current views/feelings of your life with Multiple Sclerosis?

 

 

 

I would not change a thing. I have no regrets. I have lived a fantastic life so far. After the diagnosis I went through some physical, emotional and psychological challenges that most will never experience. Overcoming these obstacles has changed me. I live with no fear and have a much higher level of compassion and kindness for all.

How have your relationships with your family/personal/friend relationships been affected by your diagnosis?

 

Family and friends have been great; very supportive. I only had one romantic relationship since my divorce and because of who she was to me, I was able to see myself through her eyes. She let me see what I had become and that inspired me to change. I had stopped living and was paralyzed by fear and the associated anger. In a very real sense, she saved me. I would not be on this trip if not for her.

What has motivated you to take part in the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

Life is an adventure; it is about putting yourself out there both physically and emotionally. I followed Lori and found out about the climb right after the MS Bike tour here in Oregon. It seemed like the perfect thing to do and a great way to kick off the second half of my life.

What is your previous experience of hiking/climbing?

 

 

I’ve hiked at elevation in the Sierra, climbed Mt. Hood and most recently Mt. St. Helens. I enjoy backpacking in the North Cascades.

What are your aspirations/hopes for the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

The challenge of the unknown. I have never done anything like this so it seemed perfect. I also wanted to share the challenges of a high altitude climb with other like-minded people who either share this disease or work helping those with MS or PD.

What hopes/aspirations do you have planned following the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

Just keep going. If I have a good time I’d like to keep climbing. I have a sabbatical from work in 2012-13 and will visit South America. I plan to take the AAI eight-day mountaineering course and sign up to climb Aconcagua.

In other words, just keep challenging myself to be the best person I can be.

Please highlight any other achievements you have made since your diagnosis

 

 

I used to be an avid runner but stopped right after my diagnosis. I decided I would try running a marathon to test my body’s response to hard training. In May I ran 3:37 in Eugene Oregon. I did this after only three months of training. I have also completed the MS Bike Century ride three of the past four years. I broke 90 for 18 holes on a tough course. Golf requires good balance and muscle control so I am very proud of this achievement. I also strengthened my legs with a rigorous exercise program and was able to ski double black diamond runs for the first time in years.

What would you say to other people who are living with MS?

 

 

Do not let the disease define you. You must also learn to master the fear that accompanies a disease like this. MS may not allow you to do things that you used to do (this is no different than growing old) but just keep working to be the best that you can be. That will bring happiness and joy to your life.