Health

They Told Her to Lower Her Expectations — No Way, She Said

Young woman with multiple sclerosis is opening everyone's eyes

Inspired by her husband, Brian, Cheryl Hile of San Diego started running in 2000. She instantly fell in love with the exercise, in part because the two of them could do it together.

Six years after that, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Doctors said she might need to lower the expectations she had set for herself — and scale back on the mileage she was running. Hile sank into a depression, fearful of what it might mean for her health. MS, a progressive neurodegenerative autoimmune disease, attacks the protective sheath of nerves, often disabling a person slowly by hindering communication between the brain and the body.

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Her husband encouraged her to keep running.

Hile was fitted with special orthotics for her shoes to prevent tripping and falling, something the MS had brought on. Today, she has run 36 marathons in the 10 years since — and by her 43rd birthday next year, Hile will have run seven marathons on all seven continents.

It’s a feat no one else with MS has accomplished.

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She ran in Cape Town, South Africa, in September, then in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October. She is all smiles when talking about the five more marathons she has to go to achieve her “seven on seven” — with her husband by her side for each one.

“MS is not a life sentence, and you can still lead a very good life,” Hile said earlier this week on The Doctors.

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She plans to run marathons in Honolulu in December, Antarctica in January, and Tokyo and Vienna in the spring. She will wrap up her goal in June in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Earlier this fall, Hile told Fox News she wants to get this done now because she’s not sure how long she’ll be able to do what she wants.

“I have that sentiment in my heart that, ‘I better do everything I want to do now before something bad happens,’” she said. “Some people wake up and the next morning they can’t move their legs. There is a bit of a rush to do everything I want to do — but at the same time, Brian tells me he feels I’ll stop running on my own terms — I’ll decide I don’t want to run marathons anymore, rather than the disease dictating when I have to stop.”

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