Photo provided by the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

Michael Wright, founder of the Facebook group, Peripheral Neuropathy Success Stories! and a participant in this year’s Run the L Challenge shares his PN journey with us:

Idiopathic peripheral neuropathy has plagued me for the last several years. When I was first diagnosed about four years ago, I was determined to build alliances and to fight like HECK. One of the first things I did was look for a Facebook support group. I found a lot of them, but they all depressed me! Way too many pity parties. That’s why I started PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY SUCCESS STORIES. My goal was to educate, inspire, and humor. In just over a year, the group has grown to nearly 10, 000 members in 100 countries. This group has been a great way for me to build alliances and friendships with members around the globe. There are a number of value-added offerings in our group. One of my favorites is our regularly scheduled zoom session, held every other Thursday afternoon. Typically, we have a guest speaker followed by enough time for members to talk and connect with one another. Building alliances helps all of us feel supported. We know that we are not in this alone. If you have PN and are reading this and not a member of our group, please look for us on Facebook. It would be a pleasure welcoming you to our family!

It didn’t take me long to find THE FOUNDATION FOR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY! Building an alliance with this organization has helped me feel supported even more. The resources, education and advocacy that they provide are all quite impressive. Since they are trying to help our community of PN patients, I wanted to find ways to help them too. I found three easy ways: 1. I do a birthday fundraiser when my birthday rolls around each year. 2. I use AMAZON SMILE when I order items from Amazon. Amazon Smile allows people to choose an organization that will receive a small cut of each order placed. It’s the exact same look and feel as regular Amazon. Doing this is a no brainer. 3. I look for opportunities to tie into fundraising campaigns and activities that are sponsored by The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.

In early August, I found out about the Chicago L race. This race was an opportunity for participants to walk, run, or cycle the distance of the CHICAGO L transit system: 131 miles. The goal was to complete this distance within an eight-week period and could be done virtually. My entry fee and donation by friends who sponsored me were a benefit to The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. 

This race was a huge motivation to me to get out there every day to walk. And walk I did, despite my neuropathy, foot arthritis, and lumbar disk issues! After my daily walk, I logged into the race portal and posted my distance and time. The portal let me see where I ranked amongst the 1300+ participants. I have always loved competitions, so this was right up my alley! I found myself pushing to walk a little bit further as the days passed by. It was fun seeing my rankings improve over time. On rainy days, I took an umbrella with me. On hot days, I took a bottle of water and wore my cushy Hoka flip flops! I kept on keeping on and ended up finishing #86. I was slow and steady, but was so pleased with how I finished! Moments on those nature trails each day made me forget my ailments! The race ended too soon, but I still get out there each day. My moments of daily walking are usually my favorite ones in the course of a day. As you see, my fight for overcoming neuropathy includes staying active, staying distracted, and being an advocate for The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy and for others also fighting. I encourage you to join the Foundation and to take advantage of its resources. I also encourage you to find a positive support group, such as PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY SUCCESS STORIES. Why do this alone when you can do it together?

Michael Wright has had peripheral neuropathy for five years. In addition to distractions, he has found that a spinal cord stimulator and the right combination of medications have significantly reduced his pain. He is always happy to share his experiences. He lives in Charlotte, NC.