Amsterdam Arena, the largest stadium in the Netherlands with more than 53.000 seats
So yesterday was THE day, I attended the, until now, biggest MS fundraising event in the Netherlands with more than 1200 participants, Arena MoveS, as Team OMS Nederland together with 3 fellow MS warriors following the OMS lifestyle and one of their super moms who climbed an incredible 2500 stairs, wohoo 🙂
The motto of the event was “share your energy – together for a MS free world” and we sure did, the Arena was on fire! I went for the bootcamp workout while others climbed the stairs of the stadium 700, 2500 or 5000 stairs- just to give you an idea, 5000 stairs is more than 3 times up the Empire State Building.
What an atmosphere from beginning to end, I loved to see the different teams and everyone giving their best and outperforming themselves. This was the kind of event some people really went way over their “abilities” and I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. Watching people in the top rows of the Arena fighting with their own bodies and exhaustion but not giving up and going on after a short break. Others even got out of their wheelchairs with an iron will they will finish 30 steps or join parts of the bootcamp – that’s just the most magical thing to see. People overcoming their “boundaries”.
One thing I notice over and over again is that most fellow MSers are just as stubborn as I am 🙂 If we want something, we do it and you better don’t get in our way.
The goal is to fundraise 750.000 Euro for the VUmc MS Centrum ( I’m also a patient there) as they would like to add a new expertise center, the first of its kind in the world, a center focusing on cognitive issues in MS . We all know what MS can do to your body – but did you know that more than half ( between 43-70%) of MS patients have a wide range of cognitive issues, some negatively influencing the quality of life? Don’t even get me started telling you about my 2 second attention span or short-term memory. I might not have any (visible) physical disabilities but I can tell you that sometimes I feel that something is wrong in my head ( no news to some 😉 ) and it can be super frustrating. Especially in stressful times or when I’m tired I can’t really focus on anything and it feels like one chaos in my head. Having a conversation in a loud place like a restaurant with chatter and music in the background requires all of my little attention and energy on a bad day. I write to do lists and even to do to do lists daily – I still forget stuff 😉 So yes, we NEED to look into cognitive issues in MS, their causes and potential treatments for it.
I gave my very best and all of my energy yesterday, still feeling it as it was also quite warm and fatigue hit me hard afterwards but I’ll do it again anytime! I even sprinted several times during the bootcamp workout and I HATE sprints, always have and always will, especially on days with numbness in my right foot and lower leg, lol.
The amount raised so far is € 155.889,15 which is fab! A big thank you to everyone who donated.
Moves, the organization behind Arena MoveS, held already other great and successful events this year including a MS Hackathon and Klimmen tegen MS. Not to mention the partners from Mission Summit and Niels van Buren who climbed Mount Everest on May 20th 2016 as the first MAN with MS – but sorry guys, a female was first 😉 . Lori Schneider was the first MS patient on the peak of Mount Everest, already in 2009, her TED talk about it is both hilarious and inspiring.
So, why climbing stairs in the Arena and not do something else? Because this is the exact location where it all started for Thomas, the founder of Moves.ms and its flagship event Arena MoveS a few years ago. All of a sudden, during a football match, he just couldn’t get up the stairs to his seat anymore and was diagnosed with MS shortly after.
It’s his personal story that made the event even more special to me.
For a few hours, strangers became one family with one goal, together for a MS free world.
As Thomas said:
“It’s unfortunate that we have MS…
…but MS is even more unfortunate to have us. “
Couldn’t agree more. Let’s rest today and kick MS a** tomorrow again.
Thank you for this great experience Moves.ms, Amsterdam Arena, all volunteers, partners& sponsors and especially the great participants and fellow MS Bloggers I met, I hope we’ll repeat it next year!