Hey Guideposts, I'm David Lyons, founder of the MS Fitness Challenge. I founded this charity eight years ago to help people with MS all over the world conquer this disease through fitness.
I was diagnosed with MS at the age of 47, and I'd already been very rooted in God. I'd been a youth pastor, and I really followed the road that Jesus put me on.
The way I found out that I had this disease was one day I was working out in the gym, and I started to get a pain and numbness in my left arm, and that radiated all the way down to my hand. And as time went by, in literally about two months' time, I became paralyzed from the chest down where I could barely even move, walk, coordinate, and I was rushed into the hospital where I was diagnosed with MS after five days there.
I was told that I was going to be rapidly in a wheelchair, relatively within six months' time. And it took me about a year to almost a year and a half to get to the point of looking in the mirror and saying, "I'm a fighter, I'm a champion. The way I need to fight this is back in the gym and to get myself back into condition to take this disease head on."
And it was a clear direction from God that was the way for me to do this. For me to work out, I had to reinvent the way I trained. I had people helping me in and out of equipment, I had to really be careful on how I did things so I didn't get hurt.
After a few months in the gym, I made a decision that I was going to do something that no one at my age with MS had ever done, and that was to compete in a high-level bodybuilding competition, which I ended up doing at the age of 50. I stood on stage to a standing ovation, and won the most inspirational bodybuilder award that evening.
I've had a lot of accolades, but beyond that, it really is not about me, it's about what God is doing in my life and the strength that God has in giving me the ability to do these things. And because of that, my wife, Kendra, and I started the MS Fitness Challenge, which was a charity to help other people with MS also achieve their goals—to have hope, to be able to realize that this is not a disease that will set you back where you can't do anything. As long as you focus and as long as you have the right mindset and as long as you're willing to work hard, you could conquer this disease through fitness.
And for me, it's all about God and the ability that he gives me to do the things that I do.