Editor’s Note: With this week being MS Awareness Week, we wanted to share the story of a professional athlete who is overcoming the symptoms and stigma of Multiple Sclerosis in her everyday life. Please join us in celebrating Heather Drew’s achievements!
The game of golf has played a very important role in my life since I first learned to play at the age of 10. I continued playing in middle school, high school, and then at college. In fact, I am pleased to say that my golf team won the Commonwealth Coast Conference during my junior year. I even worked at a golf course for four years of my life in high school. You could say that golf has always been a part of my life. That’s why it’s my pleasure to introduce you to another lifetime golfer, Heather Drew.
Drew joined the LPGA tour in 1983. However halfway through her stellar career, Drew was faced with a life-changing event that would have an everlasting effect. “Every morning, I was trying to feel my hands and feet, making sure everything was working. It is a horrible way to live,” said Drew. At only 35 years of age, Drew was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. It was awful, it was terrifying for her. “Every emotion you could have, I had,” Drew said. ” It flipped my world upside down.”
Drew was not willing to give in and let this diagnosis take away her most prized passion. She focused on staying healthy, eating right, keeping a positive attitude, and through the help of specialized medication, she was able to help control her MS symptoms. Soon after this, Heather rejoined the game as a caddy. “MS has been an obstacle,” Drew said. “But I went around it.”
Having said all of this, Drew has turned a 180 degree recovery. Today she is back as a player, competing as a golf professional on the LPGA Legends tour. “Had somebody told me that I would be here talking to you actually at a professional event, I’m not sure I would have believed you,” said Drew. Drew now plays 7 to 8 tournaments a year and is enjoying life as much as possible in addition to making the right life choices. “The National MS Society recognizes the importance of exercise. I work out, I’m really active. That is a huge thing for me. It always has been in my life,” Drew explained.
Drew has defied the odds beyond all expectations from the naysayers. She has proven again that life and the game of golf always belong in the same sentence. Drew’s story has inspired many and has shown that in life, like the game of golf, until you get up to the tee and swing, you may never know what can be achieved. “If I can touch one person, that’s a big thing for me,” said Drew. “That’s why I talk to people about it, because it’s important for family members, for caregivers, and for the patients. For people who have MS, other diseases or a stroke, it’s important for everyone to recognize, you’ve gotta do something. Being active, that’s what’s going to make you happier.”
And we couldn’t be happier for Heather Drew! Please join Wheel:Life in celebrating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness week by sharing this article on your Facebook, Twitter and social media pages.
About the Author: Justin Racine, from Boston, serves as a Category Manager for Invacare Supply Group. He graduated from Western New England University with a B.S.B.A in Marketing Communication/Advertising. When he’s not busy with Marketing, Justin enjoys competing in 10K races, Boston sports, and spending time with friends and family.