Finding LOVE in the MUD
One can expect to find a lot of things at MuckFest® MS; mud, laughter, beer, and more mud. However, not everyone would think that it is also possible to find love while decorated in layers of mud. That’s not the case for two lucky MuckFest MS New Jersey participants. Lyndsay and Eddie, now both a part of team Demyelinate This, met at MuckFest MS in 2015, and some would say it was love at first muddy sight.
Lyndsay’s journey to Eddie began in 2008 as a senior in high school. She was unexpectedly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after experiencing leg numbness and tingling in her feet. Upon visiting her physician, she and her mother were thrown a curveball when he referred them to a neurologist due to the possibility of MS being the cause of her worsening symptoms.
After multiple scripts, endless blood work, MRIs, vision tests, and a spinal tap, Lyndsay found out her diagnosis just days after her 18th birthday. At this pivotal turning point, she promised herself that she would adjust her lifestyle to only live with positive energy, a determined attitude, and a passion to raise awareness about this condition that not too many people knew much about.
After being diagnosed, Lyndsay became involved with the New Jersey Metro Office of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She participated in events like Walk MS, Bike MS, and MuckFest MS. Eventually, she also began to volunteer for these events. For Lyndsay, the draw of volunteering was simple. “The people who come out to volunteer are such wonderful people! You really don’t know who you could meet along the way. It’s cool to step back and look at the events from a volunteer perspective and encourage people.” Little did Lyndsay know that the whole time she was out there helping fight MS and encouraging others she had her own personal cheerleader on the sidelines who would eventually become a very big part of her life.
Eddie’s involvement with the National MS Society started in 2002 when he and his team signed up for Bike MS. From that moment on, he became involved with other local events in New Jersey like Walk MS and MuckFest MS. Eddie has been a participant, a team captain, and a volunteer for an array of MS related events. So when MuckFest MS New Jersey 2015 rolled around it was an easy choice for Eddie to volunteer for both days of the weekend event.
And luckily he did. Lyndsay and Eddie met at the New Jersey MuckFest MS event in 2015. An event that Lyndsay herself almost didn’t attend. “I’ll be honest, the whole idea of running around in mud and having it all up in your face, eyes, nose, mouth and whatever else you can think of was terrifying!” Thankfully, Lyndsay started asking a few friends and eventually they all agreed to do MuckFest MS because it was another event to help raise awareness about MS. However, there might have been another reason Lyndsay made sure she mucked it up in 2015.
A couple months before MuckFest MS Lyndsay received a Facebook friend request from Eddie. “I was a captain for an MS event early in the year and started noticing her name and her team name a lot. Then I did another event, and I kept seeing her name and her team name popping up everywhere. Finally, on Facebook, I saw her name in chats with some of my friends from the New Jersey Metro Chapter. I couldn’t seem to get away, so I finally reached out to her to be Facebook friends,” admits Eddie. Lyndsay reached out to the New Jersey Metro Chapter about this mysterious guy and after being assured Eddie was a great person, they agreed to meet at the approaching MuckFest MS event.
Lyndsay arrived to MuckFest MS New Jersey on June 13th ready to muck it alongside her team and supporters. She said hello to a couple of her fellow chapter members and then made her way toward the mud with her teammates where she pretended not to see Eddie who was wearing a green shirt and stationed as a volunteer at the Log Roll close to the starting line. Eddie remembers calling out Lyndsay’s name as he sat on the log in the water pool. That was the moment they met. In the midst of mud and laughter, these two greeted each other with a welcoming hug and exchanged a few words before Lyndsay and her team took on the MuckFest MS obstacle course.
Lyndsay now describes this moment as the day she met her “frog on a log,” her endearing name for Eddie, which he joked about during their first meeting. Their story doesn’t end there. Luckily for them MuckFest MS New Jersey also had an event the next day. This time both Lyndsay and Eddie volunteered at different spots on the course and once their shifts were over Lyndsay made her way to Crash Landing where Eddie was stationed. There, Lyndsay convinced Eddie at the end of his volunteer shift to take the leap with her off of the obstacle. “I remember he looked at me like he wasn’t sure he wanted to, but then we counted to three and made the jump together!” Their favorite MuckFest MS obstacle is now Crash Landing after sharing such a special moment there.
They plan to relive this moment again in 2016. This time they will fight MS together, along with their family and friends, including Lyndsay’s brother who was recently diagnosed with MS, on their new combined team named “Demyelinate This.” Eddie admits he joined Lyndsay’s team because “She’s honestly a better captain than I am. She’s become a popular, dynamic, and amazing MS captain, and she’s only been doing it half the time that I have been. When we met, I knew there was something amazing about her. Not only as a captain, but as a human being.” Eddie is excited to muck it for Lyndsay in 2016 and she’s ecstatic to have her “frog on a log” by her side for MuckFest MS.
After MuckFest MS, Lyndsay and Eddie began dating. As the two got to know each other more they started realizing just how many times they had crossed paths in the past at other MS events before actually meeting. “We have pictures with each other in the background,” tells Eddie. Lyndsay admits that they make it a mission to go through their pictures and point each other out. To them it’s amazing that life didn’t bring them together until the right moment. “To think that Eddie has pretty much been ‘behind the scenes’ for so many years and cheering me on, is truly incredible. Did I think I was going to fall in love with someone who was so heavily involved in volunteering for the MS Society or better yet, find him on a muddy log? Absolutely not! But our story is my favorite muddy love story!”
And it’s Puck the Muck Duck’s favorite muddy love story too. When asked if Puck would be on the invitation list to a MuckFest MS wedding Lyndsay insisted that he would be an honored guest as long as he cleaned up before arriving. She has no interest in muddy duck prints on her future wedding dress. And Puck agrees, but only because Lyndsay and Eddie had such nice things to say about MuckFest MS.
For Lyndsay, MuckFest MS means so much to her. It’s something she does to raise awareness about MS, it’s where she met the love of her life, and it’s a place that enables her to find joy and positivity. “I cannot tell you how much fun I have at the MuckFest MS events and there is no way I am stopping! I almost wish MuckFest MS was a couple times a year. The mud only sticks around for a few hours, but the memories last a lifetime!” And for Eddie, it’s the place he found Lyndsay. He describes MuckFest MS in only three simple words: “Where it began.”