How This Military Mucker is Making Mud Matter
We had the chance to talk to one of our many military Muckers who participate in MuckFest® MS. Tracey “Tra” Cooper-Harris will be joining us at MuckFest MS So Cal on November 12 for her third time in the mud! Tra lives with MS and mucks it for herself, her mother who had MS, and her dear friend’s dad who was also affected by MS. She knows first-hand how MS touches so many people’s lives throughout the world and comes out to support the MS community and get closer to a cure.
She also served in the Army for many years and knows many veterans, military members, and military families that have also been touched by MS or know those who live with the disease. She uses MuckFest MS as a platform to support others in these communities! And her love for playing in the mud runs deep. She recently thought about getting a Puck the Muck Duck tattoo in honor of the event, finding a cure for MS, and because her wife has a slight obsession with ducks!
MuckFest MS: Hi, Tra! We’re so excited to have you join us again in Southern California for MuckFest MS! Are you excited?!
Tra: I am! I love doing MuckFest MS, even when I’m there solo. This year, it’s even more exciting because it’s right on the heels of Veteran’s Day and Marine Corps Day which are important days for me.
MuckFest MS: That’s awesome!
Tra: Yeah, being a military Mucker and interacting with military communities and their families for work has made MuckFest MS a sort of dedication to both the MS community and the military community; both of which I’m a part of and that play a huge role in my life.
MuckFest MS: So, what motivated you to sign up for MuckFest MS initially?
Tra: It looked like fun! Plus, with all my buddies posting that they were doing all these obstacles course events, I thought maybe I should give it a try. Then, I thought if I have this disease (MS), I need to be doing something to make a difference as long as I can as I’m still mobile.
MuckFest MS: So, you’re living with MS?
Tra: Yes, I was diagnosed in 2010.
MuckFest MS: Is MuckFest MS your first event hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or have you participated in our MS events?
Tra: I’ve done patient-centric dinners, a thank-you luncheon for top donors (by participating in MuckFest MS in 2014), and volunteered when I was in the Army at the NMSS in Portland, ME circa the 1990s.
MuckFest MS: Is there someone specific you muck for beside yourself?
Tra: I muck for my mom and my best friend’s father-in-law, both of whom fought MS and have passed from the disease. I also muck for my fellow military and veterans who have MS.
MuckFest MS: That’s incredible! Looking toward this year’s event, what was your absolute favorite memory from 2014 or 2015?
Tra: Kicking off the first wave by taking a HUGE splat in the mud right before we headed out on the course! Also, hanging out with the fabulous guys from team Men at Twerk. We kept encouraging each other throughout all the obstacles and the whole event. We had a blast and they told me I could join them in 2016 if I didn’t have a team of my own this year!
MuckFest MS: Describe MuckFest MS in three words.
Tra: Dirty, Muddy, FUN!
MuckFest MS: Which obstacles are you most excited to take on again?
Tra: I really like the AbbVie Spinner because you get to swing and land in water!
MuckFest MS: What would you say to someone who has never done MuckFest MS before?
Tra: You don’t have to be a Spartan or a Tough Mudder to do this event! I tried it because another friend did the event in St. Louis, MO back in 2014, and she said that if she could do it, I could do it. There’s enough obstacles and muckiness to be a challenge, but nothing crazy like fire or electricity. And you’re helping folks with MS like me looking for an actual cure to this disease.
MuckFest MS: Anything else you want to add?
Tra: Doing this event shows what you CAN do and it’s for a great cause! Plus, you get nice Puck the Duck swag and a free beer. Can’t beat that!
Are you a Mucker in the military? We recently partnered with the site GovX to provide discount registrations to military participants. We would love to have you out at MuckFest MS in 2017 to support military communities who are also affected by MS. Sign up for GovX today!