Why I Became an MS Advocate

The day my doctor told me I had multiple sclerosis, I felt like my life had been ripped apart. I was a bodybuilder, a gym owner, a man who defined himself by strength and fitness. All that seemed to vanish in an instant replaced by a future I couldn't fathom – weakness, pain, and the constant uncertainty of this relentless disease.

MS blindsided me

One day, I was lifting weights and feeling invincible; the next, I was struggling to walk, plagued by numbness, coordination issues, and relentless fatigue. Doctors told me things would only get worse and that my body would continue to betray me. The MS had taken control.

For months, I was consumed by darkness. Building a strong body had always been my anchor. It wasn't just about muscles; it was about discipline, focus, overcoming challenges. But now, it seemed all that effort was meaningless. MS was the ultimate opponent, one I would have trouble defeating.

Yet, something inside me refused to surrender entirely

Deep down, the fighter in me was still alive, buried under fear and self-pity. I started remembering the hours spent in the gym, pushing through grueling workouts, refusing to quit. Could I find that same grit and determination and use it to reclaim my life?

The gym became my sanctuary, the place where I dared myself to fight back. At first, it was far from glorious. Simple movements were a struggle; my coordination shot, and my muscles were weak. Often, the frustration was enough to make me want to give up. But then I'd think of the life I'd lived before, the goals I'd achieved through sheer effort. Could I treat beating MS as the biggest challenge of my bodybuilding and fitness career?

Slowly, progress came. I focused on what I could control – my mindset, my determination. Every rep, every step, every tiny improvement was a victory against the disease. It wasn't about being the strongest man in the gym; it was about defying the MS on its own terms.

I created training methods I now call OptimalBody Training as I found my way to control my muscles. As I rebuilt my strength, and I began to see a shift. MS wasn't a sentence but a fight I could win in my own way. My journey sparked questions from others living with MS, many of whom had been told to avoid exercise, to "take it easy." Seeing how it transformed my life, they wanted the same chance.

That's when the mission became clear

Alongside my incredible wife, Kendra, we created the MS Fitness Challenge (MSFC). It's a non-profit charity that teaches people with MS and fitness professionals how to exercise safely and effectively. We also dive into proper nutrition, mindset and a section for caregivers to feel welcomed. It's about providing support, community, and the unwavering belief that those of us with MS are not broken but merely challenged. MSFC has become a lifeline, a place where MS warriors discover that limitations are only in the mind. My OptimalBody program has become an integral part of this journey.

Of course, advocacy means more than just fitness programs. It's about being a voice. Whether it's speaking events, my book "David's Goliath," or working with organizations like the National MS Society, I want those newly diagnosed to know they aren't alone. I want the world to see that MS doesn't mean the end of a meaningful, impactful life.

Most importantly, I want to remind everyone living with MS that our true strength lies within. There will be setbacks, bad days, even crushing moments. But just like in the gym, if you keep going and keep pushing back, you'll find the power to overcome. That's the message of hope I carry, why I became an advocate, and why I'll never stop fighting for myself and everyone touched by this disease.

Becoming an MS advocate or an advocate for any chronic condition takes a passion and desire to make a difference and to positively change lives. My mission and my passion are to do just that. For me, it’s not enough to fight this disease and beat it. I want to inspire and educate the MS community to never quit and to give them the tools to do so. This is why I became an advocate for MS and will always remain one.

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