Marie Hanna

Let me introduce you to a rock star of The May 50K.

Meet Marie.

She tackled The May 50K last year walking the 50 km and is back this year to put MS where it belongs, behind us.

Marie lives with fatigue, balance issues, cognitive and memory problems and chronic pain in her legs.

When she was diagnosed with MS, it came as a shock but prompted her to live her best life. She took on exercise, healthy eating and re-evaluated her relationships.

For Marie, walking can be difficult.

Marie says, “I can’t usually walk in a straight line. I have to concentrate on my walking. I've stacked it a few times.”

Managing everyday life with MS for Marie means taking extra steps to make sure her cognitive and memory problems don’t take over.

“I’m making sure I’m on top of my short-term memory and can concentrate on things. I need to write things down and use whatever tools I can to keep on top of my workload.”

It all began when one day, Marie lost eyesight in her right eye.

“It was really scary. I ended up having IV steroids for three days. Then, I ended up having deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. That actually almost killed me. It was pretty full on.”

“I couldn’t say a whole sentence without catching my breath.”

The CAT scan showed 50 clots on her lungs.

For many, an MS diagnosis often comes right in the prime of life, with the average age of diagnosis being just 30 years old.

For Marie, she was leading a busy life and about to elope to Hawaii.

"A year later I was off the blood thinners, and I got diagnosed with idiopathic intercranial hypertension.”

She had to have multiple procedures to drain fluid from her spinal cord and brain.

“The neurologist thought I had MS, but I didn’t have any brain lesions yet. I was in excruciating pain.”

“The neurologist said if you don’t lose any weight then I was essentially going to die.”

“I found myself in this situation where I was really unhappy, really overweight and really depressed.”

This didn’t stop Marie. She’s motivated. She lost an amazing 15kg before her MRI.

“They found lesions. I thought it was going to be a great appointment as I had lost weight. I was gutted. I went back to my husband and was bawling my eyes out.”

For Marie, The May 50K was an essential part of that health and wellbeing journey.

“My diagnosis was a wake-up call to change everything and re-evaluate everything. It took a little bit of time, but I ended up separating from my husband.”

“It’s weird because my diagnosis was a realisation that something was wrong in my life, and it was a wakeup call and I had to change a lot of things."

“I changed my job, I moved back to Sydney and I lost 30-40kg. I needed to do challenges and try to make a difference. So, I was doing The May 50K. My friends were inspired to join in as well.”

“It's been a tough journey but it’s definitely worth it.”

Marie’s committed to stopping MS in its tracks and she’s planning to run the 50 km this year with her new fiancé.

“He’s going to sign up as well so we’re definitely keen to challenge ourselves this year.”

“MS affects everyone differently. Not enough people know about it. The May 50K is an amazing way to let people know about it.”