Superior City Councilor Craig Sutherland Shares Battle With MS
SUPERIOR, Wis. — Multiple sclerosis MS is believed to affect more than 2.3 million people across the world, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. And one of those people is Superior city councilor Craig Sutherland. As FOX 21’s Dan Hanger reports, Sutherland shares his struggle with the disease to help cope and also give some hope for others.
“My motivation is my daughter, obviously. That’s my motivation,” Sutherland said.
But that’s even more so these days while fighting the incurable and unpredictable disease of MS.
“First my vision was kind of getting off. And then my slurring of speech was getting bad. And my left side of my face and then my arm and leg started going numb and I thought it was a stroke,” Sutherland said.
Multiple sclerosis can affect the central nervous system and disrupt the flow of information between the brain and the body.
“It’s an evil disease and it’s not fair who it picks,” Sutherland said, who was diagnosed two years ago.
“Every move I make I think about it. Are people watching me? How am I going to act with this disease floating? It’s like a dark cloud behind me. It’s uncomfortable” Sutherland explained.
The disease is so uncomfortable he’s figured out what he calls “tricks” to handle it when his body can’t keep up with others.
“Like if I stop, I’ll pretend like I am checking my email. Oh, I’ll be right there, I got to reply to the guy. There’s no one I am replying to. I’m just checking Facebook. Sometimes you just got to sit down,” Sutherland said.
While the daily struggle can be grueling both mentally and physically for Sutherland, he’s keeping busy with his daughter Grace, continuing to work as a pipelayer for The Laborer’s Union, co-owning Great Lakes Bounce Houses and fulfilling his duties as a city councilor.
“I got to keep moving. I feel if I stop moving, stop doing what I am doing, it’s going to catch up to me. It’s going to hit me hard, and I can’t let that happen,” Sutherland said.
But he knows much of this disease is out of his control with so many unknowns ahead.
“I don’t know what the reality is. I don’t want to know what the reality is, to tell you the truth. Day by day — every day is a struggle but we’ll get through it.,” Sutherland said.
And part of that pathway to get through it is humor.
“If for some reason next week I’m in a wheel chair, I’m in a wheel chair, I’ll race ya!”
And that includes helping others facing MS feel they are not along by sharing his story.
“If I can help someone get out of the wood works, and say I have MS, I didn’t want to tell nobody, not to be embarrassed by it. It’s not your choice. If I get one person to do that, that’s awesome,” Sutherland said.
While there is no cure for MS, there are disease-modifying therapies to help slow down the progression.
Sutherland is doing just that by getting IV infusions every six months.