If You’re Going to San Francisco…

Written by on May 20th, 2014 – 3 Comments

kirstimom MSwalk SanFran (2)What an amazing city. This wasn’t my first time to San Francisco, and it won’t be my last either. It’s such a beautiful, interesting city with all the old Victorian row houses, the cable cars, the bay, the bridges, the piers, and so on. If you have never been to San Francisco, you must go – you won’t be disappointed.

This trip was pretty special. My family was invited to San Francisco for the MS Society’s “Walk of Champions” – a walk for anyone who raised over $10,000 for the MS Walk in their own city. Since my dad raised $13,550 last year in Edmonton’s walk, we got to take this amazing trip. We also extended our stay in San Fran for a few days, so we had time to explore.

We did all the touristy things. We visited Alcatraz. We drove to the Napa valley for a tour and wine tasting at the Robert Mondavi winery. We took a “hop on, hop off” double-decker bus tour of downtown San Fran. We wandered around Pier 39. We also went to a San Francisco Giants game, which was really fun. Even our accommodations were fun. We rented a beautiful row house in the Noe Valley, which was built in 1883 and beautifully restored to maintain its original charm and character.

On the last day of our trip, we participated in the Northern California MS Walk as part of team Canada. We walked 5km through downtown, along the water, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I have been struggling with my mobility for the last few years, often needing a cane just for short distances. Since starting on Gilenya 7 months ago, my life has changed. We did a ton of walking throughout this whole trip, and a lot of it was up hill (if you’ve been to San Francisco, you’ll understand how many steep hills there are). When we booked this trip a few months ago, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, and I really didn’t think that I’d be able to walk 5km – but I amazed myself. I had no problem keeping up with my family.

I actually got pretty choked up at the walk. It started when we first arrived and I was reading some of the MS stories that were posted, and in one of them, a woman described telling her fiancé about her diagnosis and he said “this isn’t your disease, it’s ours.” I have the same kind of support from my boyfriend, so reading that really tugged at my heart strings. Then we got to the half way mark of the walk (2.5km), and I wasn’t limping, I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t falling, I wasn’t foot-dropping, I felt strong. At this point, I started bawling. It was actually kind of embarrassing because I couldn’t stop. Luckily, I don’t think many people noticed (thank you, giant sunglasses), and I had my support system there to give me hugs.

Up next is Edmonton’s MS Walk at the end of May. I’m excited to see how far I can walk in that one. Maybe I’ll make it through 10km!

3 Responses

  1. Ashley Martin says:

    Wow, Wow and WOW again!!!
    First of all, SUPER congrats on your amazing accomplishment, this is such a great post!!

    Loving San Fran – I’ve been lucky enough to visit California 8 times over the years and I have to say that San Fran is defo the most amazing city. Those hills are killer for sure, so steep! I feel personally drawn to this post and feel so so proud of you for kicking so much ass. Your emotions shine so brightly and I got choked up with you when you read those stories.

    Wow, what an amazing experience!!

  2. Tracey says:

    Good for you and your family for fundraising so much! Your trip sounds awesome and I’m glad you were able to enjoy to the fullest!! I totally understand the emotional reaction to the walk — I am so happy for you that the new medications have helped and that you are feeling well!!!

  3. Raina Ward says:

    Good for you! I too am going to San Francisco. I too am determined to do the 10km walk next year.