Ashely Kumlien is jumping in the car and heading across the country to California. On April 15th, she'll be in Los Angeles to kick of a coast to coast relay which she created. It's in honor of her mother who lives with Multiple Sclerosis.
"I would say that life has changed drastically for her, not all at once but over the years. She's lost the abilities to be independent--- to drive a car, to have a job. Those are things that she can't do anymore so that does change not only her life, but the life of my Dad and my whole family," Kumlien explains.
With her mom, Jill, in mind and hoping to make a difference, Kumlien started the non-profit "MS Run The US" in 2009. One of the main goals is to raise awareness of MS which is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Another goal is to raise funds to help find a cure. In 2010, Kumlien completed a run across American all by herself while fundraising along the way.
"When I did my run in 2010, we didn't raise as much as I was hoping so during the run I started thinking about how to involve more runners and more people to run further than they had expected to raise money for MS," the 28-year-old says.
And that's when she realized a relay was the answer. Fourteen people are joining her run this year. It's 3,000 miles from LA to New York and each participant will run a portion of that.
"I'm very excited. It's been a long journey and I'm just really excited to see how it's going. The team is very close even though we're not all in the same areas. So any email, I can just tell that the excitement is building," she says with a big smile.
That excitement is the other part of Kumlien's goal. She wants to inspire people and get them pumped about fitness. Each person will run the equivalent of a marathon every day for six straight days. It's a tough task, but Kumlien's determined. She gets her inspiration from her mom.
"I've actually only seen my mom cry two times from frustration with the disease and that's one of the things I love about her. She's very positive and very bright and has a strong faith in God that this is happening for a reason," she says.
Every step of the way, Kumlien is running for her mom, running to raise awareness and running for a cure!
Multiple Sclerosis is estimated to affect 400-thousand Americans. The relay takes place over 145 days in an effort to raise 500-thousand dollars to help find a cure. For more information, go to www.msruntheus.com.