18 year old Kayla Montgomery is ready to embrace pain, as long as she can run on tracks…
This young athlete has been diagnosed with a severe medical condition, but Kayla Montgomery wedges a war against her body to win her race.
In the city of Winston-Salem of North Carolina, US, lives an 18 year old athlete, Kayla Montgomery. She is seen on the tracks of long-distance races, as she runs faster than any other girl in the competition, and every time, she comes to a dramatic finish, screaming in agony, collapsing into the arms of someone waiting for her on the other side of the ribbon. She is Kayla Montgomery, the award-winning long distance runner, and she has Multiple Sclerosis.
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18 year old Kayla Montgomery is ready to embrace pain, as long as she can run on tracks
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, as it is most commonly called, is an inflammatory disease which damages the insulating covers of the nerve cells in our spinal cord and brain. This eventually causes disruption in the functioning of the nervous system, and hampers its communication with the rest of the body, thus leading to a loss of muscle control. The secondary problems that arise are mental and psychiatric.
When Kayla was a young teenager of 14, she was diagnosed with the early symptoms of MS. Since then, she has been working rigorously to emerge nowhere but at the top of what she is good at, even though if it means that she will undergo a lot of pain. She has dedicated herself completely to running and competing against none other than herself, as she makes ad breaks new records.
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Kayla was a shy and quiet child, who took to sports at quite an early age. She was part of the school soccer team. Unfortunately, in 2009, she received an injury why playing with her team. But, this was not any regular injury, because soon after receiving it, she was started to experience a loss of feeling in both of her feet. Soon, her level of discomfort started to rise as she noticed that she was receiving certain feelings of shockwaves in her spine, as well as some tingling sensations there. To find out what the exact problem was, she was taken to a doctor who suggested that she went for medical tests. When the reports of her tests came out, doctors discovered that she had lesions in her brain, as well as on her spine. They came to the conclusion that Kayla was afflicted with a very aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis that was affecting her central nervous system.
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This was quite a shattering diagnosis for young Kayla. It started making her sick, and she also got very depressed. For a period of eight whole months, she had no sensation in the lower part of her body, waist down. Her legs always had a blush tinge, and they felt cold. Kayla kept herself locked in her own room. She said: “I didn’t let anybody in my room I just wanted to be alone. And I was mad. I was just really mad. I couldn’t see why this had happened to me.” She was quite confused as well. “I couldn’t think of anything I’d done wrong. Why should I be punished? Why was this happening?”
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For her treatment, Kayla was given a lot of medication. This helped her to eliminate the onset of the debilitating effects of her disease. By this time, she had already been kept away from the team sport that she used to enjoy. Further, her medical condition forced her to altogether give up contact sports such as soccer. After a long time and proper treatment, she started to regain sensation in her legs, slowly. By this time, Kayla had taken the decision that changed her life and her reputation for good. As she was uncertain about how long it would take for her to recover, or how long her treatment would last, she decided to go back to sports. Only this time, she took up track and field. That was April, 2010. She just wanted to run, and run fast.
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Once the slowest child on the field in a team of soccer players representing the school, Kayla was not much of a star in running either. As her coach, Patrick Cromwell, remembers, “She was average at best,” but things soon started to change. She was greatly motivated and determined to do well, and so, very diligently, she trained six days a week. Each week, she would run a distance of 40 miles. She was determined not to let her diagnosis become an excuse for her to limit herself, or to hold herself back. She said to her coach, “I want to run fast.” Since that time, Kayla has been running on indoor and outdoor tracks, as well as cross-country teams.
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As she started running, Kayla soon realized that this was not going to be easy for her, because about one mile into the race, she began to feel numb in the legs. Not the kind of girl to give up easily, she continued to run. Strangely enough, she felt no pain. But as soon as she reached the finishing line, she collapsed to the ground. Her legs had finally given out from under her. But, strong-willed as she is, she made up her mind to fight the degenerating effects of her disease. She knows very well that every time she will reach the end line of her race, she will collapse. That is why, her coach or a team of people wait for her so that she can fall into their arms, and she can be eased to the ground instead of falling down. Later, her legs re iced down until she regains feeling in them again.
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She has set several records since 2013. During the North Carolina State Championships in May, 2014, the last race of her high school career, Kayla collapsed in the very first lap. Yet, she succeeded in winning the race. Kayla has improved her speed and has held herself as her own competition. That is how, she has succeeded in setting her own records – and then, breaking them. Over and over again, she has managed to get featured among the top performances of North Carolina, and bested herself. She is now ranked 21st in the US, after her North Carolina state titles. Most recently, she competed in the 5000 m national indoor track competitions in New York. Kayla is unsure as to what her future holds for her, but she is not ready to let this uncertainty bog down her spirits, even though if it means that she has to embrace pain.
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