Team Spotlight – Walking Tall and Wright

Team Spotlight – Walking Tall and Wright by Joyce Lameire
TeamTshirtMeet Gail Wright. She decided to form a team for WYASO because “I was diagnosed with AS in February. Upon receiving my diagnosis I started searching the internet for information, articles and ways to TAKE ACTION.”
“I’ve always been involved in athletics….. I grew up going to camp so I rode horses, played tennis, water-skied, played baseball etc. I began running when I was about 40. I then turned my running/exercise into something more meaningful than just exercise for myself. I hiked Yosemite’s Half Dome to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma, I supported my Father in Law to fulfill his dream of hiking 26 miles around Geneva Lake (which we did twice). I then challenged myself to run half marathon distances. For my first 13.1 mile run- I did it to celebrate my 44th birthday.”GailWright
“Little did I know that every time my lower back hurt it wasn’t just that I needed new running shoes and a trip to my chiropractor.  At 45 I had 2 herniated discs in my neck as well as a ton of pain in an overly abused left shoulder. Fusion surgery and then a shoulder surgery, I thought this life of pain was over. Immediately after surgery I felt FANTASTIC…. And then I was even more miserable than prior to surgery.  No one could explain my pain. I was told I was crazy, I should check into a pain clinic and there was no way I was hurting because everything was fixed and I was fine.”
“After a year of sitting and gaining a bunch of weight I decided to ditch all the doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists. I slowly built back some strength and dropped weight. I even felt so great that to celebrate my “return to health” I did a 47th birthday celebration of another 13.1 mile run.”
GailWright2“I felt amazing…. Until Labor day- just 2 short months of the half marathon run.  After a simple little 5k, my lower back was in a huge amount of pain. I chalked it up not stretching properly and needing new running shoes.  A week later I ran another 5k. After that race I could barely walk. This led me back to the orthopedic back surgeon, PT and chiropractor. And of course new running shoes. December 20th I felt fantastic. The PT and I were talking about releasing me from therapy and letting me return to my crazy level of workouts….. and then December 21 I woke up in more pain than I’ve ever experienced in my life. To shorten this long story- after 2 weeks of doctors, no sleep, literally being stuck in a recliner and many tears I was diagnosed with Costocondritis. This led me to finally go see a GailWright3Rheumatologist. Not just any rheumy….but the BEST Rheumy ever. She heard my story, did an exam and said, “I know what you’ve got. But let me run some blood tests first… but we got this” OMG- someone who really listened to me and my story!!!!  A week later I got the call. She said “you have AS. Look it up. Read about it. Be prepared for our appointment next week.”
Gail stated she was going to turn her diagnosis into an action and The Walk Your A.S. Off campaign was PERFECT! This is her first year participating and she has 43 walker on her team.
GailWright4What does Gail hope to accomplish during this awareness campaign?  “My goal is to raise awareness about A.S as well as have a vehicle to explain my diagnosis to my friends and family. It was a way for me to “Come Out” as they say. Since prior to my diagnosis I was a bit of a workout nut job as my family so lovingly put it; they now understand that I NEED to move and exercise every day to stay healthy. They still call me a nut job…. But at least they know it’s critical for my health now.”GailWright5
JoyceLamierJoyce Lameire was diagnosed over 20 years ago with AS but was in remission until 2006. She fought tirelessly with medical practitioners to help her find some relief from the chronic pain that had taken over her body. She used her medical knowledge and research background to help her find different ways to heal herself. She shares her journey over the last several years by blogging( and speaking to groups of medical practitioners. Joyce works part time as a Speech Language Pathologist and enjoys genealogy and watching good sci-fi flicks! Joyce writes our Thursday Team Spotlight.
If you are interested in having your Team “Spotlighted” contact Joyce @ [email protected] or [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *