Spartan Steve Battles Ankylosing Spondylitis
“From the day I was diagnosed, I immediately stopped being active. I was depressed and angry that my life would be spent sitting on the couch or lying in bed, no longer having the luxury of being able to do whatever I wanted to do.”
However, Steve’s attitude took a turn for the better when he found and befriended fellow athletes with Ankylosing Spondylitis – including Racing For A Cure teammates Helgi Olafson and Isabel Lanssens. These fellow arthritis athletes inspired him to believe that he could do more and he set out to compete with the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s Racing For A Cure team. The thrill of fearlessly tackling a day-long obstacle course fueled Steve’s confidence in his ability to manage each challenge despite his condition. His racing and determination gave him back the control of his body and removed some of the feelings he once had about being held hostage by his disease.
“For almost thirteen years my AS was front and center and I questioned whether being active was worth the inevitable pain that would follow. Now, I’ve completely changed my outlook. I surround myself with positive people and look forward to conquering many challenges in the future!”
There’s a common saying among Spartan Racers when referring to the obstacles that lie ahead; namely, “you’ll know at the finish line.” Steve said that the phrase resonated with him as he competed in an epic test of strength and courage a few weeks ago in a 26km race. He finished in six hours, 26 minutes, and 34 seconds, demolishing his goal time of seven hours. What made his feat all the more impressive was that he had completed a 17km Spartan race just a day earlier in a remarkable doubleheader.
“Every time I gear up to jump over the fire pit at the finish line, I have to fight back tears because I am so grateful to be able to compete in spite of my Ankylosing Spondylitis.”
“The unwavering support of my fellow Ankylosing Spondylitis warriors has made this journey an incredible one so far, and it will only become better as time goes on. Challenge yourself to live an active lifestyle regardless of your situation.”
What obstacles have you overcome since you were first diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis or your form of arthritis? Tell us about your triumphs in the comments below, and be sure to check out Racing For A Cure!
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