FORT COLLINS, Colo (CBS4)- Colorado has one of the highest incidences of Multiple Sclerosis in the nation. Nearly 10,000 Coloradoans are living with the disease. A Fort Collins man has had a breakthrough in his therapy, thanks to a new drug and a lot of hard work.
Jonathan Goehring, 30, is a former personal trainer. He leads an active healthy life and battles against the effects of MS every day. Goehring started noticing the symptoms when he was just 21.
“I was out for a run and my left cheek started to go numb,” he told CBS4.
Goerhing hit the disease with therapeutic drugs, but MS took its toll quickly. Within 9 years he was wheelchair bound. That is until a new drug came along called Ampyra. Goerhing said it’s made a huge difference. The first week of taking Ampyra he was able to life his right leg, which is his most affected leg, up and off the bed.
“I was like ‘Yeah!’ I just wanted to get up and start walking. This was so cool.” Goerhing remembered.
He can walk again, thanks in part to the drug. Ampyra is a product of research funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“He’s probably 30-40 percent stronger and he’s gotten some return on some muscles which he wasn’t able to use, which makes his ability much better,” said Dr. Gerald McIntosh, Goerhing’s neurologist.
Many of the newest treatments for MS are focused on slowing the progression of the disease. But Dr. McIntosh says that 90-precent of his time is spent helping patients deal with their symptoms. He’d like to see more research focused on that aspect of MS.
“To treat people for their weakness, for their difficulties with bladder control, for tightness in muscles and other things,” he said.
Any breakthrough is welcome by most MS patients. Jonathan Goehring is stronger than ever thanks to Ampyra and hard work.
“I’m way happier. It’s like the best toy you ever got at Christmas Eve, you know, it’s just awesome.”
The National MS Society has given more than $721 million to research over the years.
You can help raise money for MS research by taking part in one of their fundraisers.
Walk MS in Denver is coming up on May 7th, and there are other walks scheduled throughout Colorado in May.
Bike MS is the weekend of June 26th & 27th.