For 94-year-old Doris Merrill, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games is about more than the 70 medals she’s earned over the years.
“I’m gonna do my doggone best, if I don’t it’s alright, I’m there,” Merrill, who was diagnosed with cervical myelopathy in her neck during boot camp, and then multiple sclerosis (MS) while pregnant with her first child, told PEOPLE.
MS is an unpredictable, disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and body. According to the National MS Society, the progress and severity of the disease remains unpredictable, but it is two to three times more common in women than it is in men. The most common symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, visual disturbances and difficulty with mobility.
So much for the myth that says a person with MS has a life expectancy that is below average. At 94 years of age Doris Merrill, is proof that’s not always true. The last study I saw from the National MS Society showed very little difference in life expectancy between people with MS and normal people. The slight difference they believed was due to a sedentary lifestyle.
This is an inspirational story.