U.P. woman celebrating 10 years of living with M.S.

ESCANABA — One local woman who lives with multiple sclerosis is honoring her 10th year of having the illness by raising funds for the cause. ABC 10ís Melanie Palmer-ABC 10 spoke with an incredible woman who is not letting M.S. control her life.

Mandy Young of Escanaba has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for the past ten years. After experiencing an unusual mixture of symptoms such as optic neuritis, uncontrollable spasms, and migraines, just to name a few, she was told she had a peculiar kind of the illness.

“Because I had so many symptoms right away, they described my M.S. as very hot and heavy in the beginning,” said M.S. Survivor, Mandy Young.

Mandy’s type of M.S. was diagnosed as relapsing/remitting which means her symptoms will come and go. Throughout the past 10 years, she has been on various different treatment plans. Since starting her most recent medication Tecfidera, Mandy’s health has been better than ever with one relapse each year.

“The last one was really bad, it was on Halloween and I was at home and I could not get up. I went outside to get my dogs off their leashes and I could not stand,” said Young.
After this relapse, Mandy was put on heavy steroids and her mobility fully recovered. Although the past 10 years have been a journey; doctors are impressed with the Mandy’s health and stability compared to other people living with the illness.

“I do much better than I did in the beginning, I don’t think anyone would call it hot and heavy now,” said Young.

Conquering this illness for the past decade is something worth celebrating about.

“I’m celebrating because I’ve made it through 10 years of having M.S. and I’m celebrating by having the rummage sale,” said Young.

A rummage sale will be on Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 3 P.M. at the UPW Arena in Gladstone. All the proceeds from the sale will go straight towards the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Michigan Chapter. These funds help not only go towards research but assist M.S. patients in diverse ways.

“Honestly the Multiple Sclerosis Society has helped me; in the beginning they were helping me with different things. They got me connected to some doctors that were doable because in the beginning, I didn’t have any insurance and I was University of Michigan, costing thousands of dollars each day. I think it’s important to get them as much money as I can to help so people like me, don’t have to go through that,” said Young.

While living with M.S. could take its toll on some people, not Mandy. She even created an alternative name for the illness to draw away sympathy and bring in laughter.

“Margo Star is being just terrible today, I can’t even function. Instead of being like you poor thing, they laugh. I treat her like she’s an entirely different entity from and she really is because the things that happen with M.S. and the things I deal with, they are not me, it’s my body doing stuff that it’s not supposed to do,” said Young.

Although Mandy’s life plans slightly changed, such as working in foster care, which she never anticipated, she was still able to graduate college despite previously quitting when hearing of the diagnosis.

Mandy is passionate about spreading awareness and participating in the annual M.S. walk in Marquette. She invites anyone to stop by the rummage sale and help support people living with Margo Star (Multiple Sclerosis).