Tim Raschle Races for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Tim Raschle Races for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Competitive swimmer, triathlete, aspiring ironman athlete, and…Ankylosing Spondylitis sufferer? It may seem that the titles don’t mesh, but Tim Raschle, an Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) sufferer since college, has miraculously been able to still compete in a plethora of events despite his condition. In an effort to take his racing even further, he has joined the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s Racing For A Cure team to raise money for AS and other autoimmune diseases.

Now at age 25, Tim looks back on his journey getting diagnosed and what his disease means to him.

Tim Raschle completing a swim in a triathlon to raise Ankylosing Spondylitis awarenessWhen he first began to experience pain, Tim’s doctors initially thought he incurred an injury from working out. However, after a series of tests, he received the news that changed his life; an AS diagnosis/form of arthritis. Because Tim was a competitive swimmer and was not ready to sacrifice his sport for his disease, he began taking an NSAID, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. However, due to his intensive swimming training regimen, Tim had to switch to a biologic drug, a monthly administered TNF-alpha blocker. Although the biologic decreased Tim’s inflammation, its negative side effects resulted in him contracting ten different infections in ten weeks.

“[I had] everything from bronchitis to staph to ear and sinus infections,” Tim said. “After a ten week period, I was given two options by my coach; either come back healthy in two weeks and try to train again, or come back in two weeks as an assistant coach. I picked the latter.”

Putting his long term goals into perspective, Tim knew coaching would be his best bet. He began taking another NSAID to ease his pain, changed his diet and began stretching repeatedly throughout the day to increase his overall flexibility.

Until now, Tim has remained quiet publicly about his AS, but notes that his arthritis has changed him for the better.

“I changed my lifestyle and outlook on life. The pain in my back constantly reminds me that we as humans are not invincible and are not given an infinite amount of time to live,” he said. “Most importantly, arthritis has taught me a great deal about empathy as we know little about the struggles that others go through, whether visible or not.”

Racing For A Cure team member, Tim Raschle, runs for Ankylosing Spondylitis“I want to take this opportunity to reach out to my friends and finally talk to them about my situation,” he continued. “I want to show them that having AS is not the end of the world but rather, to a certain extent, a wake up call to live life differently.”

Tim is anything but a victim. He has completed two Olympic distance races and a handful of sprint triathlons as well. Even though he stopped training after his swimming career ended, his body was itching to start competing again. He is preparing to compete in an ironman race in the near future. His training regimen usually consists of running 3 to 5 miles per day, swimming 2 or 3 kilometers four times per week and riding his bike 80 miles each weekend. “Racing is like a drug to me,” Tim said, “whenever I feel weak is when I push to become stronger.”

Staying active is Tim’s main focus. He explained that even though arthritis affects everyone differently, for him, finding the right balance between not sitting still for too long, yet not overexerting himself either, often yields the best results for a healthy lifestyle.

Tim is thrilled to be joining Racing For A Cure and to be helping to raise charitable donations to further research in Ankylosing Spondylitis and arthritis in general. As an athlete for the majority of his life, he isn’t the same unless he’s competing. To him, sports are the best medicine and he’s going to use his athletic skills to help bring change to the face of AS and other forms of autoimmune arthritis.

To help support arthritis research while staying active, join our Racing For A Cure Team! And to share YOUR arthritis story, contact KYLE!

ANRF
Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation
derek@curearthritis.org

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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