Susan Mary Thomson (Suz)


Country of residence:








Program Assistant, Polk County Public Health

What is your relationship with your MS walking partner?


We have only met on line through emails, and via the phone (Gina Anderson). Already we have built a relationship on trust even before meeting.


How has a diagnosis of MS affected your relationship with your walking partner?



I find her incredibly inspiring, and she has helped me understand and educated me on MS. I know of many people with MS but not this intimately.

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



She is a rock and has the most amazingly positive outlook on life. She has helped me see this illness in a different light. She never complains, but embraces life as it comes to her.

What has motivated you to take part in the Kilimanjaro climb and to be a walking partner for people with MS?



When I asked Lori what she wanted to do after her climb on Everest, she stated that she wanted to take climbers, who were diagnosed with MS, to Kilimanjaro along with a partner. I knew instantly that I wanted to be a companion. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible this journey has been for me so far. Simply by letting go of fears and expectations I have opened myself up to a world of new friends that I would never have thought possible.  Eight years ago, I lost my son and I hit the lowest of lows, but now I am going to be climbing a mountain half way to heaven with like-minded people who wish to bring awareness and understanding to the world. As tough as life can be, we can step out of ourselves, reach out to each other and go for a dream that seemed impossible to even attempt.

What is your previous experience of hiking/climbing?



Iím a regular skier, and have done a great deal of hiking in the flat lands of Wisconsin. Seven years ago my husband and I went to Sedona Arizona and climbed all seven vortexes.

How do you plan to support your MS walker companion during the Kilimanjaro climb?



 We will be supporting each other. Rather than anticipating what happens, I want to take it all in as it comes. But if something should happen that Gina has to pull back, I fully intend to pull back with her. I just hope it isnít my body that breaks down first. I want to be 150% there for her from the flight from Chicago to our return home.


My involvement in the trek is about me being able help someone else. But Gina is incredibly strong physically and mentally, so I hope for both of us, we make it hand in hand to the top of the world in Africa. God willing, I know we will go for a dream that seemed impossible to even attempt.