Scott Kaplan - husband, father, son, brother... and a person living with MS
In September of 2002, I noticed a loss of feeling in a small area on my chest, a tingling sensation from my neck to my knees and weakness in my left arm.
Scott with son Patrick at
In January of 2003, after four months of these symptoms and a number of doctors’ appointments, I received the news. I had multiple sclerosis. After my diagnosis, I went through the ringer of treatments in order to kick my MS into remission -- with good timing, too; my wedding was just five months away.
Right around the time I went into remission, I heard about Walk MS. I did not want to go to Walk MS. I was in denial about my disease and was afraid of what I might encounter at the event. I wasn’t ready to let my guard down. Through some tough love and much convincing from my wife, I decided to participate. I raised $500 that first year and was joined by my wife, Denise, and my cousin Pam.
At the event, I tried to take in all that was happening around me. I saw a man, probably in his mid-fifties, sitting in his wheelchair listening to the music. While I looked on, he stood up out of his wheelchair and started dancing. He wasn’t the best of dancers, and you could assume he wasn’t familiar with the rap music being played, but it didn’t matter.
He sent me a message in those few moments…‘don't worry about what will happen tomorrow, just take care of today. If you feel good today, GREAT! Enjoy it and live for today.’ I never got that man’s name and haven’t seen him since, but he changed my entire outlook on MS. He sparked the determination in me to beat this disease.
In the years since, I've had two relapses. The last was in October 2006 when my first son, Patrick, was 11 months old. During that relapse I didn’t have the strength to hold my 18 lb infant nor could I walk from one room to the next without experiencing overwhelming exhaustion.
Scott's son Ethan at Walk MS 2011
That relapse scared me – maybe even more than my initial diagnosis. It scared me because now I had a family. Now, I was scared that there was a real chance that either I wouldn't be around for my children or I wouldn't be able to enjoy playing with them during their childhood.
It was during this relapse that I vowed to do everything I could to stay as healthy as possible and renew my fight against this devastating disease.
Since my first Walk MS in 2003 I have walked every year with Denise and Pam at my side as well as many others who have come to celebrate life with me. I’m proud to say that my team continues to grow along with my fundraising.
In 2011 I raised more than $12,600 and am proud to know that I’m making an impact so that my children will not have to hear those disconcerting words, ‘You have MS’. I’ll be there again this year, looking for that man whose dance inspired me in 2003, and looking for you.