Ambassador BrieAnne Osterlund
BrieAnne Osterlund’s faith in humanity led her to the partnership with International Riding Helmets to create awareness in hopes of escalating a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Since that day of being diagnosed my entire life has changed. I had your typical normal life of working a job I enjoyed, living a fun and carefree life and riding Dressage. Then my life turned into being unemployed, due to many doctor visits, tests and worst of all, many uncertainties. MS had me dealing with vision problems, headaches, weakness and numbness of my arms and legs as well as bladder control problems. The doctors had strongly suggested starting me on medication to control symptoms and flare ups. Fearing the side effects of the medications I choose an alternative natural way of controlling my flare-ups. My neurologist with frequent MRI’s still monitors me.
I didn’t know what my life was going to be like or worst of all not knowing if I could continue to ride Dressage. I Knew I had two ways of dealing with this news; I could let MS take over my life or make the best of the news I was given. I chose to make the best of it. After learning that eating healthy and staying active would help my symptoms of MS. I continued to ride Dressage and push my self into being a stronger rider. There are days when I show up at the barn and I can’t feel one side of my body. But the moment I get on my horse I get the feeling that everything will be ok. It’s hard to describe the feeling to someone. The numbness in my leg subsides and sitting in a saddle seems to help align my body. There is something magical about horses and riding, and some people forget that. I thank God everyday that I’m blessed to be getting on a horse and seeing the real meaning of living a happy life. I feel that MS has blessed me in so many ways. I’m truly blessed to have the most amazing parents and husband. My mom Gail Osterlund is my trainer, and best friend. My mom is out in the Dressage ring with me everyday, pushing me harder because she knows that I can do it. My mom is my heart, my dad is my backbone and without them I would crumble.
Before being diagnosed I was very much aware of MS because I watched my mother in law suffer and unfortunately pass away from the complications of MS. I didn’t realize how many people MS has affected, more than 400,000 people in the United States alone and 2.5 million worldwide. It was difficult to accept that I was one of them. This is when I decided how important it was for me to make it my goal to find a way to make the public more aware of “MS”. I think this awareness could help educate the public on how serious this disease is and how many people it effects. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks your nervous system. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of the disease cannot be predicted and symptoms may range from numbness to paralysis to blindness. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can last forever. I’m hoping a better awareness could help in the funding of finding a cure faster.
Advertising information about diseases on products has proven to be successful in creating awareness. Awareness helps in funding and finding cures. Cancer and heart disease are some examples of how this can work. I don’t see why it couldn’t be the same for MS.