Lori Schneider's Interview With Alan Arnette of www.alanarnette.com

March 23, 2009

Meet the Climbers: Lori Schneider- MS climber for the 7 Summits

Everest is no stranger to tough people. We have had climbers without legs, one arm, blind, diabetes and other disabilities summit against all odds. These people are always inspirational. Lori Schneider, who has MS, is one of the most inspirational climbers we have seen in a while. Her physical and mental courage and strength is amazing. But also her determination to make a difference. She recently embarked on a speaking career to inspire others to overcome their obstacles - both real and imagined. Lori takes her own advice quite literally as she recently told me:

Two weeks ago I spoke to a group of 300, and was moved to tears to see them standing and applauding when I was finished. I need to get better at asking for fees, because I took out a loan for $80,000 to pay for the Everest climb and the supplemental oxygen charge.  I quit my 20 year teaching career back in 1999 when I was diagnosed, and have drained all of my savings from the sale of my house, so I decided to invest in myself.

Lori was very generous to answer a few quick questions as she is walking out the door to catch a flight to Kathmandu. Please meet Lori Schneider:
Q: With only a week to go, what occupies your thoughts right now?

I am worried that I will not have time to complete all the last minute details and still have a few peaceful days to spend time with those I love.

Q: You have MS. Are you doing anything special at the extreme altitudes of Everest?

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ten years ago, when I awoke one morning with numbness in half of my body. I have only had symptoms a couple of times during the past ten years, so I am one of the lucky ones. I say that MS means "Mostly Strong". My goal on Everest is to keep myself as healthy as possible, so I am bringing my special energy shake powder (Living Fuel), my omega oil capsules, and a healthy dose of positive attitude.

Q: Of the 6 of the 7 summits you have completed which was the most satisfying?

Denali tested me to the limits, so in conquering it, I felt a sense of empowerment over my MS and the other mountains & obstacles in my life.

Q: Your willpower and determination are amazing. When times get tough, what keeps you going?

I have this mind game that I like to play with myself, when things get hard. First, I give my self permission to just take "one more step". In doing so, I break down the idea of the overwhelming task of what I see that lies ahead. Then I distract myself by picking a wonderful day from my past, and reliving it, one thought at a time. I try to remember the sights, smells, sounds and thoughts that I experienced that particular day, and time passes in a comforting way.

Q: Your 7 Summits quest happened kind of by accident, what will be your next goal after Everest?

Through the EmpowermentThroughAdventure.com business that I have set up, I hope to bring a group of people with MS to Kilimanjaro each year, along with guides and sherpas. I would like to help others with the disease, feel that sense of triumph over their physical bodies & illness, and in doing so, mentally know that they are strong once more.

Q: You are embarking on a public speaking career. What is your key message?

Empowering others to move beyond their labels and perceived limitations, believe in themselves, and live their dreams.

She is climbing with Alpine Ascents International and dispatches will be through their site. This will be her 7th of the seven summits. You can read more about Lori on her site. Lori - we are all pulling for you. Climb High, Climb Safe, Climb On!

This interview is reposted here on www.empowermentthroughadventure.com by permission of Alan Arnette of www.alanarnette.com.