My life with MS is not much different than my life without MS. In fact, my life might be better in some ways.
Mike Cohen believes that enjoying life to the fullest is the most important thing he can do. Before Mike was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in December 2001, he worked, played ice hockey, mountain biked, and white water kayaked. Today, Mike still works, plays hockey, mountain bikes, kayaks, and has even added activities to his schedule.
When describing how he felt when he learned he had MS, Mike recounts a story about mountain climbing with friends. Mike’s backpack ended up in the Black Canyon River. He jumped into the river to retrieve the backpack, but after hitting the frigid water, he went under. Thanks to his friends’ quick thinking, he was rescued from the river.
The day Mike was told he had MS, he felt as if he had fallen back into that freezing river. He was shocked. He even told his fiancée, Kelly, that they should cancel their wedding plans. Luckily, Kelly refused and the wedding plans went ahead. Mike is grateful to have his family, including Kelly and her parents, as his largest support system.
Mike was already intimately familiar with MS because his sister, Heather, had been diagnosed with the disease when he was in college. In support of Heather, Mike and his parents learned as much as possible about MS. Through his sister’s experience, and now his own, Mike learned that MS does not mean an active live style must be lost.
Mike continues to stay educated about MS and the available treatments. He knows that a healthy lifestyle and managing his stress are crucial to managing his MS.. He is an avid sportsman and finds that sports not only keep him physically fit, but also give him an escape from the daily stresses of life.
Mike lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Kelly and a black lab, Mesa. He works as an office technology salesman. Mike is not afraid to speak out about his disease; he talks openly with coworkers, family, and friends to educate them about MS. Mike is expanding his role of educator as an MS Lifelines Ambassador. He will provide MS awareness, education, motivation, and hope to people and their families living with MS. Mike will join other ambassadors in serving as an example and resource in the MS community by providing guidance, support, and empowerment about living well with MS