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Kiaran McLaughlin


Photo of Kiaran McLaughlin

Kiaran McLaughlin

Kiaran grabbed headlines when the Kentucky Derby long-shot Closing Argument took a surprise second place. One year later, the relatively unknown Jazil won the Belmont Stakes by an impressive one and a quarter laps — putting both McLauglin and his challenges with MS in the spotlight. Kiaran's determination is an inspiration both on and off the track!

Kiaran McLauglinDreams abound at the Triple Crown. From winning by half-a-length to beating the odds, people come to the races to fulfill their dreams and walk a victory lap in the Winner's Circle.

One such dream belonged to Kiaran McLaughlin. After years pursuing his dream to become one of the great trainers in the horse racing industry, the unpredictable effects of multiple sclerosis suddenly sidetracked McLaughlin.

It was the middle of the night in October 1998 when Kiaran woke up with a sharp, searing pain in his shoulder. Not wanting to wake his wife or children, he drove himself to the hospital at 2:30 a.m. At first, the doctors thought he was having a heart attack, but after some initial tests they calmed his fears. They sent him home thinking it was a severely pinched nerve.

The next day he went to the doctor for further testing. After an MRI, he got the news: multiple sclerosis.

Kiaran had never heard these words before. His first reaction: depression. For nearly a month he blocked out the world, sitting on his couch in a state of denial. After some soul searching he realized that he could not let MS get in the way of his goals, his future, his dreams. He decided to arm himself with knowledge — one of his first stops was the National MS Society's web site.

Now, Kiaran has a very busy life — he lives on Long Island with his wife and two children and he travels the world to train and race horses. He is very open about living with MS and has developed coping mechanisms to manage his symptoms while he's on the racetrack.

Whenever he is approached by friends, co-workers and community members who know that he has MS and want more information he is always very open and willing to talk: "I have MS in my hip pocket for now and feel fortunate for doing so well," Kiaran says. "But I know it can be scary because of the unknown. For that reason I try to be as open as I can about living with MS and being positive and pro-active in my life."