More MS news articles for May 2001

Runner with MS offers hope

http://www.courierpress.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?200105/13+runner-051301_news.html+20010513

Sunday, May 13, 2001
Evansville Courier & Press
By LEIGH ANN TIPTON, Courier & Press staff writer
(812) 464-7505 or ltipton@evansville.net

Susan Krieg dabs makeup on a woman’s face, showing her the right colors for her skin tone and features.

“She likes making women feel good about themselves, regardless of their size, shape or color,” said Kreig’s husband, Dave. “She’s always trying to help people out.”

It doesn’t matter if people come to her for a new shade of lipstick — Krieg is a cosmetics consultant — or searching for hope in fighting multiple sclerosis, a disease Krieg was diagnosed with nine years ago.

Krieg’s greatest pleasure in life comes out of making others feel good.

On Saturday, after 2,107 runners had finished the 15th annual Arts Fest River Run, it was Krieg’s turn to feel good about herself.

While junior college runner Francisco Tomas and former New Zealand Olympian Anne Audain received the first-place plaques, Krieg was honored with the Mercedes Benz Excellence Award, given to a runner who exhibits courage in the sport.

Krieg, 38, finished the 7.4-mile River Run in a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 49 seconds, pumping her arms in the air and lighting the sky with her smile as she crossed the finish line.

Every day, Krieg’s focus is on victory.

MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Krieg controls the disease with Avinex injections and other drugs.

In Krieg’s case, symptoms have been mild. Four years ago she had her only major flare-up, falling immobile with vertigo for several weeks.

“It absolutely terrified me,” said Krieg, adding that even the most simple things, like picking up a glass, took the utmost concentration.

“Your mind does all kinds of crazy things when you think about all the what-ifs,” she said.

The scariest part is not knowing what the future holds. But the mother of two has learned to deal with the unknown by simply avoiding it. Instead, she focuses on each day by truly trying to make the best of every moment.

“Everybody’s got decisions to make when they rise in the morning,” she said. “You can’t let your dreams sit idle because you don’t know what the future will hold.”

At the time Krieg was diagnosed with the disease, she was divorced and dating her future husband, Dave Krieg.

At first she was afraid he would leave her because of the diagnosis; then she thought about leaving him.

“I was devastated,” she said. “I had just started this relationship with this great guy, and I didn’t know if it was fair to stay in it.”

The two later married and they have a daughter together, Taylor, 4.

Krieg also has a 12-year-old son, Michael Hirsch. He recently headed up a fund-raiser at his elementary school, Haubstadt Community School, that raised $381.72 for the MS walk.

Krieg discovered running as a way to deal with the ending of her first marriage.

Running also became a way of dealing with her disease. She runs to increase the public’s awareness of MS and to raise money for research.

Last fall, she raised $20,000 for the National MS Society during the Chicago Marathon, and this October hopes to be even more successful in fund-raising at the Detroit Marathon.

She is inviting other runners to join her in Detroit; anyone interested can e-mail her at kriegds@aol.com.

Husband Dave, who nominated her for the River Run’s excellence award, said he’s amazed by Krieg’s perseverance and attitude.

“Depression is almost a side effect of multiple sclerosis, but she’s just trying to get people to not think that way,” he said. “If I had MS, it would be easy for me to think, ‘What do I have to live for? It’s only going to get worse.’”

Instead, Susan Krieg is moved to action.

She uplifts people with her words and spirit. She runs and sings, talents she combined on Saturday when she sang the National Anthem before competing in the race.

No matter what, Krieg has never stopped living. And that’s why Dave Krieg’s face brimmed with pride Saturday afternoon as his wife accepted the award.