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For Karine, rappelling down the wall of a hotel is a great time. So when she took part in the inaugural Totale Bouette event in Quebec City in 2013, which is part of the Muck MS Canada series, she was thrilled to be joining hundreds of others running through the muddy forest with friends. She loved the costumes, the obstacles and the chance to act like a kid again — even though by the end she was too dirty for her daughter to want a hug.
When you ask, Karine’s favourite part of Totale Bouette is the challenge. “If you commit, you have to finish the course,” she says. “It was so fun to see all these people really dirty, even the guys dressed like ballerinas. The energy was great.”
Before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 26 while pregnant with her daughter, Marilou, Karine got most of her exercise from her job as a nurse. Now 34, she is an avid cyclist, runner and ski patroller. Focusing on her health, she says, is a major way to manage her disease.
While MS has changed Karine’s life, she laughs at the idea that she slowed down. At first she began to take part in exercise programs offered by the MS Society. When she started breaking personal fitness goals and her disease didn’t progress the way she had feared it might, she kept challenging herself to go further and find ways to give back. She participated in the MS Walk with her family and was a spokesperson on behalf of the MS Society, all the while hunting for events for her thrill-seeking friends.
“When I first heard about Muck MS, I thought it looked exciting,” Karine says. “I liked the physical challenge, and it seemed like I would fit in with the crowd.”
Last year, Totale Bouette raised more than $160,000 and generated a tidal wave of buzz, both online and offline. This year, the people of Estrie in Quebec City, Hamilton in Ontario and Chilliwack in BC took up the challenge. Karine hopes that the event will continue to grow and touch younger people — those who may have a connection to MS and not yet know it.
As someone who benefitted directly from the programs offered by her local MS Society chapter, Karine says she would like to see proceeds invested in communities. At the same time, the Muck MS Canada series will also help finance the world’s leading MS researchers to find the cause, better treatments and a cure for MS — which would allow more Canadians living with MS to enjoy life to the same degree that Karine does.
To find out more information, visit muckms.ca.