TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA) – A Travelers Rest woman isn’t letting multiple sclerosis hold her back in life. In fact she’s running to the finish line while also raising awareness of this very serious illness.
Around one million people in this country alone are living with MS and Julie Burke is just one of those many people.
For those of you who don’t know, MS is a progressive disorder that can impact your vision and mobility, among other basic body functions like balance and muscle control. But Burke is fighting back hard.
Julie Burke is running on the Swamp Rabbit Trail just like she does nearly every day of the week. Watching her, you would never think she is battling an illness that can be debilitating.
“I woke up one day and the left side of my body was completely numb,” said Travelers Rest woman living with MS, Julie Burke.
She first thought the numbness was a pinched nerve. But after months of scans, tests and spinal taps, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Am I going to be in a wheelchair? What does this look like for my kids? Is it hereditary? Is it something they’re going to get?,” asked Burke.
Burke said one neurologist told her she likely wouldn’t be able to run anymore. So she got a new neurologist.
“The runs have been the best medication I found for all of it,” Burke told 7 News.
Now she’s taking on a new mission, all in the name of the illness she lives with.
“When I first heard that somebody could run six marathons in six days, I thought that is absolutely crazy. There is no way,” said Burke.
You heard that right. 172 miles in just six days.
“I hired a running coach, I became a brand ambassador for MS Run the U.S., doing shorter races for them. All with the goal I could run six marathons in six days,” Burke said.
And after seven years, she’s almost here. The run is happening in July. But her vigorous training starts now.
“I’ll be running four or five days a week. Towards the end it, will be close to 100 miles a week,” Burke told us.
Though Burke’s future is unknown she says, one thing is certain.
“For the fear that I might end up not able to run, for the people who currently can’t run, I just feel like I have to do this big thing while I can,” said Burke.
She will not let MS slow down her run.
Burke has to raise $10,000 to participate in this run. All those funds will go towards research for cures and financial aid for people living with the illness.
The MS Run the U.S. Relay is an annual 3,260 mile run across the country for the Multiple Sclerosis cause.
Burke told 7 News she has had some relapses through the years with muscle spasms and loss of vision.
To stay updated on Burke’s journey, you can find a link to her page through the MS Society here: https://www.msruntheus.org/campaigns/julieburke/.