MuckFest MS is Better Together! Just Ask Kristen M. from Chicago

“Nobody knows that I have MS. Nobody would look at me and know, so I don’t go up to people and tell them. So, MuckFest MS was a great way to let everyone in, to bring everyone together.”

Kristen M. from Chicago was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 19, right in the middle of her years as a college athlete in field hockey. Doctors initially told her that she couldn’t play her sport anymore, but she kept going. Eventually she found the right doctor for her, and started shots and treatments multiple times a week. But she kept playing. She played all four years of field hockey, and has never let MS slow her down since.

It should be no surprise then, that when Kristen and her family committed to MuckFest MS in Chicago in 2017, they went full force.

“We had about 70 people, including kids, family and friends who all came together. My family came in from South Carolina, Wisconsin and California. Everybody had matching tee shirts and had a ton of fun!”

Her husband Chris rented two school buses to shuttle their enormous team to and from the event, and the whole group met at Kristen and Chris’s home for breakfast beforehand. He also paid for their entire team’s registration fees.

Says Kristen, “That was huge! Chris is a big supporter of the National MS Society and wanted our team members to be able to focus on collecting donations.”

Talk about a committed family! With Chris setting that example, Kristen said her family reached out to anyone and everyone to be a part of their team: the Mother’s Muckers.

“I have friends that don’t run at all and can’t stand running that did it. Friends that just had babies that did it. Our parents did it. Anyone of any age can do it! One of my friends who I work out with, he was helping people get up the ladders and the ropes and helping them do it step by step. Everyone was working together!

If you can’t do all of it, just start with one obstacle. Just getting out there and crossing the start line and getting a little muddy… you’ll be good to go!”

Kristen is ready to go for this year’s Chicago MuckFest MS, which is coming up fast! She is especially looking forward to the Flying Muckers zip line, and to adding even more members to their team. One new team member is her eldest daughter Caroline. She is the first of Kristen and Chris’s kids to be old enough to run, but Kristen says the rest of the family (Eleanor who is 4.5 years old, Anna who is 6 and Claire who is 9) can’t wait to join the Mother Muckers in future years, too.

“”I have four girls and they love being dirty, so this is a perfect event for them! They’re always dirty anyway, so this time we’re all dirty together!”

That is the best part of MuckFest MS for Kristen; being surrounded by her family and friends. And that really includes everyone in the muck!

“It’s nice to know that you have that support. Everyone is out there for the same cause and to make a difference. That’s huge.”

If you see the Mother’s Muckers in Chicago (and how could you miss them?!) give them a high five and shout out! They want to see lots of Windy City muckers!

Kristen encourages, “Do it with a group. Do it with all your friends. You see people you would never think would get dirty, and you see them down in the mud.”

Kristen, we’ll see you there. 🙂

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