July 12, 2003
While all eyes were focused on winner Robert Huffman who took the checkered flay in Friday night's Nascar race at the Kentucky Speedway, but the biggest winner might have been for the woman who finished tenth in the race.
Kelly "Girl" Sutton, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) several years ago, doesn't let that stop her from driving in Nascar races, including Friday's Goody's Dash Series.
Six years ago Sutton says she was confined to a wheelchair, but she says better treatment of the disabling disease and some good old-fashioned will power helped her get back on her feet and into the driver's seat.
"I'm too stubborn for that to happen," said Sutton, with a laugh. "Too stubborn. The mind is a very powerful thing. When I set my mind to something, I'm going to accomplish it."
"I was 16-years old when I was diagnosed with MS. They told me I had 8-years to walk -- and 15-years later I'm still going strong," said Sutton, who is now 31-years old.
A drug called Copaxone helps Kelly stave off relapses of multiple sclerosis. The drug's manufacturer sponsors her car which she drives in Nascar's lower level circuits.
What better testament would a stock car's sponsor want than on of its patients racing around in it at 160-miles per hour>
"That's what it's all about," said Sutton. "Try to get the word out about, try to change the face of MS -- and show people that there are therapies out there for MS."
"We want people to realize MS can be managed," said Sutton.
Sutton says her biggest goal in racing was to race at Daytona. She says
she's done now so everything else is just icing on the cake.
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