Name:

 

Susie Weber

Country of residence:

USA

Age:

46

Occupation:

Graphic Design/ Illustration

Who is accompanying you on the Kilimanjaro climb?

Mickey Babcock

When were you diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

In 1987

How has your diagnosis affected your life?

Itís made me a stronger person.

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

 

 

Extreme fatigue is my biggest hurdle ever day. I get numbness and tingling sensations in my arms, hands and legs. I also get muscle cramps in my legs, feet and neck regularly.

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

 

 

I was first diagnosed in 1987 when the right side of my body went numb (including half of my nose and tongue). I have lost my vision several times and suffer the most from extreme fatigue and weakness. I could only go up and down the stairs once a day when my children were little or I could barely function (my number one job was to take care of them and let the rest of life become secondary). I learned to conserve my strength and energy so that I could be a good mother and still have a successful career. My husband has been supportive throughout. Several years ago (2007) I decided to reclaim some better level of fitness and start walking every morning at 6 am. I could barely walk a mile back then but, as soon as I was strong enough, I decided to see if I could run a half marathon and completed my first in Green Bay in 2007. So life has definitely been a roller coaster ride with MS, but it makes me more driven and determined than ever before.

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

 

 

 

I used to say that Iíve worked very hard to never let my MS define me. I realize now that thatís exactly what itís done. It DOES define me; not by the negative aspects of the disease, but by the positive way I tackle life. You donít need to know that I have MS to recognize that I am very compassionate and have an extraordinary amount of personal drive. It would seem that MS has actually made me a better person.

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

 

My family is amazing and we have to pull together not only because of my MS, but I also have Ankylosing Spondylitis (since 1994). In addition my oldest son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age eight, my daughter has ADHD and my youngest is on the autism spectrumÖ we donít have a choice, we have to help each other out. I am lucky to be surrounded by wonderful people and am grateful for their continued support.

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

 

 

The main reason for participating in this climb is to teach the world about multiple sclerosis (awareness and advocacy) and inspire others (whether they have MS or not) to overcome their daily obstacles and be the best they can be (mentally and physically). 

 

So far, this experience has made me stronger and it's a chance for me to grow in ways I cannot comprehend. I continue to use the opportunity to try to be a good role model for my kids and anyone I meet.

 

I embrace the concept of climbing and hope to dedicate this experience to fellow MS patients. This adventure is about MORE than conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro. It's about the journey that began so many years ago and I look forward to seeing what's next.

What is your previous experience of hiking/climbing?

Iíve never done anything like this before.

What are your aspirations/hopes for the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

I hope to touch peopleís lives by sharing stories of the journey we all took to get to Kilimanjaro and hope that I am empowered to do more than I can comprehend when itís all over. I think I am ready to do more.

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

 

 

Iíve started trail running and aspire to run in the Italian Alps! But who knows whatís next. I feel pretty empowered just by training for Kilimanjaro. I canít imagine what I will feel like after.

Please highlight any other achievements you have made since your diagnosis

 

 

I started my own business, Weber Design Inc, in 1990 and have received awards for my work globally and locally.

 

I have three fabulous children and have completed six half marathons since 2008.

I am also working on an interactive childrenís book for the iPad called the Socktopus and have previously taught three semesters of computer illustration at a local college.

 

I started a blog: www.morethanamountain.net

In December of 2010 to help document this adventure and hopefully inspire others in some small way.

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

 

 

Live your life to the fullest!