Hello and thanks for visiting. My name is Rick Sommers-Steinhaus, and I was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in 1993, six months after I completed one of the greatest accomplishments in my life: running the New York City Marathon. After spending over two decades as a broadcaster, I left the business to earn a Master's Degree in Social Work, with the intention of working specifically with newly diagnosed MS patients and their families, to help put a human face to the disease mired in statistics and fear. Subsequently, I have been a featured speaker at numerous conferences, gatherings and functions to tell my story and to help increase awareness about what MS is, and how it impacts our lives.
I am committed and passionate about providing tangible information to our society about misunderstandings and misperceptions about what an MS disgnosis and disability, in general, entails. Did you know that there is an annual event that takes place in May titled World MS Day? More than just having local events and fundraisers, which is great, I want to do something bold and noticeable to truly bring this message to global communities. I came up with this notion: What if I were to spend a day in every time zone flying from continent to continent to illustrate the importance of movement and connection to people with MS. Why? MS is a neurological disease where the body's immune system attacks the "myelin sheath" which surrounds the spinal cord and nerves. When our immune system is triggered to attack the sheath, our neuroloical connections are broken causing symptoms like: inabiity to walk, blindness, fatigue, slurred speech, bladder and bowel issues and a variety of other troubling and debilitating disorders.
Please help me to fund my globe trotting journey to bring publicity and awareness to Multiple Sclerosis on a global scale. I am also seeking media and publicists around the world who will promote this trek and mission.
World MS Day: 2019
The accompanying photo was snapped as I crossed the New York Marathon finish in the mid-90's. Fast forward to January 2016; Sitting on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale Airport, growing inpatient at my delayed departure, I realized that I was going to miss my subsequent flight connection on the other end. I was returning to New York after just having spent a day at a medical conference with the American Association of Neurologists in discussing protocol for new MS patients. The irony was not lost on me that here I was leaving my medical colleagues behind and about to miss my connection. In the most rudimentary of explanations, that IS what MS is. It is a disease which has taken a bite out of my life for the past 23+ years (certainly longer but only diagnosed 23 years ago). So I got to thinking about how crucial these missed connections are in my life. In my on-board reading, I noticed that International MS Day was coming up in May. This is a day that’s been set aside to bring attention to MS as it exists around the globe. I had this whimsical thought about how all the missed flight connections replicated all the missed electrical connections in my system. And from there, voila! My idea was born. “Let’s honor World MS Day by flying around the globe using flight connections to highlight the importance of the system running smoothly”. What could be a better demonstration for people who have heard of MS but don’t really understand what it is or how it affects one who has it? “But, wouldn’t you die from jet lag and time zone changes as you make your way around the globe”? This was the gem, because I often describe MS fatigue as having eternal jet lag. This could be informative, educational and incredibly valuable in publicizing a disease that somehow impacts 400, 000 people in the United States alone. This concept of flying as non-stop as possible around the globe to honor World MS Day in 2018 galvanizes so many key aspects in my life; but most importantly, raising awareness about this insidious disease. Every charity does walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons, bake-a-thons; I want to do a FLY-A-THON and am asking you to help me create an itinerary with an airline, that will provide a safe, comfortable passage around the world at 34,000 feet.
My motto is aligned with the National MS Society, USA, which is "join the movement." I say "keep on moving."
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I can not make this Rickaroundtheglobe4MS trek without your support. I am appealing to friends, colleagues, people with MS or other disabilities, passionate and compassionate people to donate any amount at all to reach my goal of $58K. Please go to FIND OUT MORE to access my Go Fund Me page.