Sabbatini hopes to raise $100,000 to help find cure
May 18, 2004
Renee DuFore Russell
Fond du Lac Reporter
A 36-year-old Horicon man refuses to settle for the “bull” that life has handed him. He’s going to take life by the horns and join the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, on July 7.
Ray Sabbatini, a drywaller by trade, was diagnosed in January 2003 with multiple sclerosis. MS attacks the central nervous system. It damages the myelin, or insulation surrounding the nerves, scrambling messages from the brain and causing vision loss, double/blurred vision, numbness, coordination problems and balance problems. MS has no cure.
Sabbatini said he’s going to run to raise MS awareness. He also hopes to raise $100,000 to help the National Multiple Sclerosis Society find a cure.
“I have always been a thrill seeker,” Sabbatini said. “I used to kickbox and have bungee jumped, among other things. One of my dreams has always been to travel to Spain to run with the bulls. I found a sponsor, GoldenPalace.com, and we put together a great fund-raiser.”
“Ordinary people do extraordinary things all the time,” he said, referring both to the $100,000 goal and the physical challenge of the run. “This is one of the things I’ve wanted to do. Why should I let (MS) it stop me?”
So far, he’s not letting the fact that he’s only raised a couple thousand dollars break his spirit. “I’ll be there if I have to crawl in front of the bulls,” Sabbatini said. With GoldenPalace .com covering his expenses, Sabbatini only has to worry about keeping ahead of the bulls.
But mostly, he said, it’s about raising money and awareness for the disease that’s got its horns into his body.
“You can’t lie down and let the disease control you,” he said.
MS affects a person’s reflexes, quickness and balance, he admitted, “but the odds are in my favor. I’ll be running with 2,000 people. Other runners are more dangerous than the bulls. You need eyes in the back of your head.”
The running of the bulls in Pamplona is part of the celebration of the feast of San Fermin, held every year to honor the patron saint of wine.
“Since there is absolutely no way to outrun the bulls, which weigh about 1,000 pounds and run like the devil himself, it will be every man for himself. The run is about a half a mile and is extremely dangerous.”
“But, just because you have MS doesn’t mean you have to stop living
your dreams,” said Sabbatini.
Copyright © 2004, Fond du Lac Reporter