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By Kenzie Kramer on 01/24/2017 | Remarkable! People
When marathon-runner Cheryl Hile’s neurologist told her to lower her expectations, Cheryl refused to accept the advice. Cheryl had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects the body’s central nervous system, the year before. Her most recent symptom, foot drop, slowed the signal from her brain to her foot, causing her to trip while she ran. Now, ten years after her foot drop diagnosis, Cheryl is setting out to inspire others to keep working toward their goals and to not let obstacles stop them from going after their dreams.
Cheryl’s current goal is to run seven marathons on seven continents in one year. When she reaches her goal, she’ll be the first person with Multiple Sclerosis to complete the challenge. Before her diagnosis, Cheryl was an avid runner and had completed 13 marathons. In 2006, Cheryl was diagnosed with MS and had a difficult time coping with the diagnosis. “I was depressed and I was using running to help with depression,” says Cheryl. When she began tripping while running, she thought her most recent symptom was a result of her running. “I thought maybe I was training too much.”
Cheryl now runs with an ankle foot orthotic which helps keep her foot in the correct place so she can run without falling. Since being diagnosed, she has run over 200 races, including over 30 marathons. Her mission to run seven marathons on seven continents began in September of 2016 and she has already crossed three marathons off her list – Africa, South America and North America. In January, she’ll be making the trek to Antarctica for her coldest marathon yet. “Our race director is optimistic and hoping it’ll be about thirty degrees,” says Cheryl.
While she trains and completes her marathons, Cheryl hopes to inspire others to boldly pursue their dreams and not let anything get in their way. Cheryl lives by the motto “Do what you can and never give up!” and wants to empower others to keep trying, especially those with MS. “Even it means walking seven minutes a day or walking with the assistance of their cane from their front door to their mailbox, that’s a champion in my book.”
To support Cheryl’s journey and follow along as she completes four more marathons, check out Cheryl’s blog.
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