Just a Mess with MS
Madelyn Lopez likes to say she’s a “mess with MS” ever since being diagnosed in August 2010. She eventually used her motto to name a team at MuckFest® MS Philadelphia in 2014. Madelyn’s cousin signed up to do the event in honor of Madelyn and decided her motto would be the perfect team name!
Of course, Madelyn couldn’t let her cousin and friends run without her so she signed up to run, too! Madelyn eagerly took charge of things and became team captain. She even got sponsors for their shirts so they could get custom ones made for the event. That first year, they had a strong team of 11 that were all there to support her. They wore their “Madelyn is a Mess with MS” shirts proudly.
Every year they’ve come out to play in the mud with us and continued to grow their team year over year. This year, the team has boomed to nearly 50 members and they have more members who are living with MS. That means that Madelyn isn’t alone when it comes to being a mess with MS! The only difference this year is that, to be inclusive, they’ve changed the name of the team to “Madd’s Misfits.” Madelyn even recruited a local artist she knows to make a caricature image on the shirts based off of a photo with just those living with MS that are on the team. There’s even a plan in place to sport crazy orange wigs and face paint this year in Philly! How awesome is that?
If you couldn’t tell, Madelyn is super passionate about MuckFest MS not only because she lives with MS, but also because she truly just loves doing the event with her huge team every year. She’s made a promise to herself that she will play in the mud for as long as her body allows.
We talked to Madelyn a little bit more about her experience at MuckFest MS and why she’s so excited about playing in the muck every year!
MuckFest MS: What initially motivated you to sign up for MuckFest MS?
Madelyn: My cousin Juan signed up the first year we started in 2014. He was the team captain. After about a week, I knew I was fully capable so I joined, too.
MuckFest MS: How did you hear about MuckFest MS?
Madelyn: My cousin was the one who actually found the event because he lived in Philadelphia. He asked me one day if he could name the team on my behalf. How could I say no?! It was a great honor, so the team name “Madelyn is a Mess with MS” came into existence.
MuckFest MS: Why did you want to have this experience?
Madelyn: I wanted to participate to prove to myself that despite having MS, this was something I could accomplish!
MuckFest MS: What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?
Madelyn: I most look forward to seeing ALL the people supporting such a great cause. It really touches me!
MuckFest MS: How does MuckFest MS help you feel empowered?
Madelyn: It helps me by knowing that I am able to finish and that in itself gives me the feeling of empowerment.
MuckFest MS: Tell us a little bit about how MuckFest MS helps cultivate a closer bond with your friends.
Madelyn: It helps us to be closer because MuckFest MS is not a “normal mud run.” There are obstacles, like not being able to continue, whether that is running/walking/jogging/etc. due to all of the pain I am dealing with. My team encourages me and even offers to give me “piggyback” rides to the finish line. Feeling the love from them helps me to turn around and keep pushing through it.
MuckFest MS: How do you feel about knowing you’re playing such a big role in helping stomp MS in the mud once and for all?
Madelyn: Knowing that the money we raise is helping someone to get a step closer to feeling better is a great sense of pride.
MuckFest MS: Are you fundraising any money for the cause?
Madelyn: Yes, of course! Every year I contact someone from MuckFest MS and have them send me tins and posters. The office I work in has three floors and three major units. I place a tin and poster on each floor at the front of each unit (including my desk and the reception area) so we can raise funds!
MuckFest MS: Describe MuckFest MS in three words.
Madelyn: AWESOME, FUN and ACCOMPLISHED!
MuckFest MS: Which obstacle is your favorite?
Madelyn: Big Balls!
MuckFest MS: What else do you want people to know about you?
Madelyn: Having MS and participating in this event helps me to get back to “the person I used to be.” I plan everything, keep a spreadsheet with shirt sizes, contact numbers, and email address. I even plan a carpool system to the event and back! One year we hope to rent a party bus! I reach out to local businesses to sponsor the team shirts, too. I just enjoy it so very much. From November, when registration opens, to the event day, I am all about MuckFest MS! I cannot wait for Saturday, June 3rd!!!
We can’t wait either! We know we will be seeing a lot more of the superstar team Madd’s Misfits!