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September 15, 2013

Red Dirt Divas gear up for Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride 2013


     When Misty Wensler was shooting hoops for the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls, she was unstoppable on the courts. Standing six feet, two inches in her stocking feet, Wensler could buck any opponent dribbling the ball and galloped through life as an active adult. A bump in the road with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis just found her back in the saddle again — staring down the disease with her new team, the Red Dirt Divas — Nikki Siler, Shelley Siler, Danna Ellis, Susan Young, Ariane Pierce and Annie Collier — who will join Wensler next weekend in cycling historic Route 66 in Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride 2013.

     It won’t be a slam dunk for Wensler as she has to monitor her training with MS so she doesn’t heat up her body temperature. She has taken on the 160-mile challenge because it’s personal — and the National MS Society showcases the ride as a fundraiser to make a difference in the lives of those living with multiple sclerosis.

     Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed, affecting more than 2.1 million people worldwide. MS stops people from moving but Wensler said approved drug therapy supported by the National MS Society has made her symptoms go into remission.

     “It’s not like they’re going to fix you,” Wensler said. “The medicine just prevents it from getting worse and going forward with your life. I can live with MS — it’s just my quality of life that I’m more aware of. I’m not down and out — people with MS do amazing things.”

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