More MS news articles for April 2000

The May GLAMOUR Reports On One Young Woman's Courageous Refusal to Give in to a Disabling Disease

Thursday April 6, 7:00 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release

NEW YORK--(BW HealthWire)--April 6, 2000--As many as 300,000 Americans suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and it strikes two to three times as many women as men, usually in the prime of their youth. In the May issue of GLAMOUR, one young woman tells how she bravely fought back and - despite the odds - refused to give in to the disease.

Susan Barters was 21-years-old, and a junior studying photojournalism at New York University when two fingers on her left hand went numb for a few weeks.

"Basically, my doctor told me to go home and forget about it - that it was probably some type of infection," she recalls. Six months later, however, she encountered another strange sensation.

"It felt like big rubber bands around my whole trunk stretching and constricting me."

This time, her doctor, a neurologist, ordered a MRI. That's when he saw the
scars on her brain and broke the news to her.

"At first it didn't really sink in. I had very minimal symptoms, and I was young, so I didn't realize the full impact of how my life would change."

A few more years went by before she purchased a cane (a sparkly purple model) and used it all the time - mostly so she could continue to wear her favorite shoes: high heels. It was partly the cane that caught the eye of her now - husband Bill, a 43-year-old drug rehab counselor, at a local bar one night.

After a mutual friend told him Barters had MS, Bill introduced himself. They hit it off, and in less than a year they were engaged. But in February 1998, only two months before their wedding, the now thirty-year-old Barters suffered an attack.

Determined not to go to her wedding in a wheelchair, Barters began steroid treatment for her weakening mobility and traded in her cherished high heels for flats. She also quit her job to help her relax and avoid stress.

Miraculously, on April 19, 1998, Barters got through her wedding on her own two feet. Thanks to close friends and family who stood with arms outstretched, ready to rescue her, she was able to leave her crutches behind and walk down the aisle.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd be in a wheelchair," she says.

Remarkably, however, last November, Barters (and her wheelchair) skydived 13,500 feet above the Shawangunk Mountains in New York.

"I made it!," Barters said after her incredible dive. "Living with a disability doesn't mean you stop living."

Martin Blair, 212/286-5521