ABBEY JONES

Abbey is a mother of 3, lives an active life and has worked as a health professional. In 2016, Abbey developed leg numbness, an awkward stride and vision issues. Her doctors suggested more exercise. After conducting her own research, she felt sure it was MS. While pregnant with Collin, her symptoms went away. For some people, MS symptoms decrease during pregnancy because of the hormones a mother’s body produces but returns shortly after delivery. This was the case for Abbey after Collin’s birth.

As Abbey’ symptoms worsened, she contacted a new physician who ordered an MRI. The results showed lesions on her spine and brain, conclusive for her MS diagnosis.

After joining the Wrestling MS team, Abbey began working out on a recumbent trainer and implementing a nutrition plan, Last year, she completed her first two-wheel solo ride in preparation for the outdoor cycling season. She credits her Wrestling MS teammates, Les Gatrel and Duane Fritchie, with inspiring her to fight hard every day.

DAVID POSKIN

David Poskin is a lifelong resident of the Kansas City area and is a graduate of Rockhurst High School, the University of Missouri and UMKC Law School. David is from a large family with eight siblings and 30+ nieces and nephews. David and his wife Mari-Lynn have raised seven children (4 boys and 3 girls) and are blessed with one grandchild. Family is a big part of David’s life.

Professionally, David spent the first twenty years of his career as a healthcare consultant, working for hospitals and healthcare systems throughout the United States. As his MS progressed and disability increased, David made a career change and has spent the last decade as a financial advisor with Waddell and Reed.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1989, David was able to maintain a very active social and physical life for about 10 years. David enjoyed coaching his kids in soccer and wrestling; (Oh yeah—David is a Rockhurst High Hall of Fame wrestler); and enjoyed extensive travel, running, swimming, biking, golf, skiing and competing in triathlons. 

 After turning 40, David’s MS progressed at a more rapid pace and his earlier pursuits were curtailed. Before Wrestling MS, David had not been on a bike for over a decade. With the help and support of Wrestling MS, and a considerable time commitment from Duane and Mary Fritchie’s WHOLE family, David has now gotten back on a recumbent bike, both tandem and individual, and has biked well over 500 miles in the past 12 months! Wrestling MS has gotten David out of his wheelchair and active in meaningful physical and social activities. Now David enjoys spending his free time visiting family, reading, swimming and traveling — “to the lake”.

EMILY DUFFEY

I was diagnosed with MS right after my senior year of high school at age 18. I tried my hand at riding in an MS 150 event that year, borrowing a friend’s bike and making it about 10 miles before quitting—I liked riding in general, but I was ill-equipped! In college I tried getting around on campus on another second hand bike, and after a few crashes from balance issues and vertigo, gave up the cycling world. I truly thought MS ended my ability to ride a bike. At age 28 I went on disability due to disease progression. At age 40, I’m coming off disability—a huge step to regaining independence I thought was gone forever—and I’m back on a bike thanks to WrestlingMS! Meeting this group has been life changing because the lie of “I can’t ride a bike because I have MS” was taken away. I now have my own bike (not one hastily borrowed from a friend), I’ve got a team of people surrounding me, and I have motivation—to stop MS from controlling the narrative and to take back my health. I’m thankful for the WrestlingMS community coming alongside me as a new rider and encouraging me toward my goals as I face living with MS with a new outlook—just another chapter in my story, not the end of the book.

JEANIE ROCK

I was born at Providence Hospital in Kansas City, KS, and lived in KCK through Kindergarten. My family moved to Overland Park where I grew up. I graduated mid-term from Shawnee Mission West High School. I attended Electronics Institute on a full scholarship and was the only female there at the time. I married in 1982 and moved to Dallas, TX, where I gave birth to my daughter Opal. I attended Mountain View Community College while in Dallas. In 1986, I moved back to KC with my daughter. I attended KCK Community College. I married Mike in 1990. I worked for 2 doctors until my health declined.

After that, I worked part time for the Shawnee Mission School District until shortly after I was diagnosed with MS in April of 1992. At that time, there were no MS therapy drugs, only steroids. Once therapies became available, I was able to do more and rejoin the community. I am a self-taught artist and love to share healing art with others. Currently, Mike and I facilitate Artist Chris Duh (pronounced “do”) of Chris Duh Creative doing Donor Recognition art for Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation. I also teach healing arts for residents of Ronald McDonald House-KC. We have also assisted Designer Jennifer Bertrand on two bedroom makeovers, and a whole house makeover for the TV show Military Makeover for an Overland Park veteran and his family. I love to swim (I’m a Mermaid) and plant flowers. I have one daughter, Opal, who teaches Fashion Design, Visual Arts, Family and Consumer Science classes at Olathe South High School. Her husband Cole is a Chiropractor. I have 3 grandsons, Isaac, Eli, and Andrew, and 1 granddaughter, Pearl. I love to spend time with them. We also spend time helping others, including our retired doctor friend and my father.

KARA GOODIER

grew up in Jackson, MO—a small town in southern Missouri—with my mom, dad, and twin sister. I always liked being active, from being on the swim team to taking bike rides with my family, but music and writing were my passions through the years. (They still are.) On my 17th birthday, I lost sight in my left eye. I thought it was a blurry contact, but as I’m sure you can guess: it wasn’t. I was able to gain my eyesight back with steroids and graduated high school. I then attended Truman State University from 2010-2013 on a full scholarship, where I received a Bachelor in Creative Writing and a minor in Spanish. Through college, I experienced other symptoms (tingling hands and feet, slow speech) that I wrote off as stress or lack of sleep. But then I started losing sight in my eye again, and I knew it was more.

I was officially diagnosed with MS in February 2014, but I’ve lived with symptoms since 2009. Having MS has taught me a lot about empathy, and self-care, and being strong enough to find yourself over and over again. It has also made me even more appreciative for the good things in my life—my job as an Senior Editor at Hallmark, where I get to use my passions to help connect people; my wonderful family who I wish I could see more; my supportive partner, Dennis, and my furry friend (my cat Rey); and the other incredible people and opportunities in my life. I sing and play ukulele with a volunteer music group, love hanging up my hammock and reading a book, and of course, I ride my bike with some amazing people. I don’t mean it’s always easy—it’s not—but I do believe having MS has made me a stronger, more resiliently-optimistic person who is able to empathize with the unseen battles we all face.

MS Champions Chairperson

KATHIE KASPER

I was born in Kansas City, Kansas, but grew up in Wichita. My nickname from my dad is Powerful Katrinka, a character in the Toonerville Folks comic strip from the early 1900’s. She would always save the day in a humorous way!

When I was around 12, I somehow talked my parents into buying a ranch where our friends and I could keep our horses. I attended Wichita State, Kansas State, and Johnson County Community College, where I have taken knitting lessons for over 10 years.

I have worked for Electronic Realty Associates as a meeting planner and as the Senior Center Coordinator for Johnson County Parks and Recreation. And I have been an avid gardener and a board member of Gardener’s Connect.

I have been married to Richard Kasper for forty years now, and in 2017 we celebrated our daughter Krista’s wedding to Nolan Plous.

My journey with MS began with watching my older sister Carol Ann decline with Progressive MS. In 1991, my suspicions about my own symptoms were confirmed by an MS diagnosis. At that time I was struggling with burning, numbness, difficulty walking and fatigue. But the needs of our growing daughter kept me pushing forward. After 3 years some of the symptoms eased and I regained a sense of hope. New drug therapies and activities like gardening have helped me maintain my strength and mobility despite continued issues of fatigue.

KELLY THRASHER

Diagnosed April 2006

Kelly was born 3-17-1984 in St. Joseph, MO
She graduated from Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, KS, where she played volleyball, softball, and tried pole vault and hurdles in track her Senior year. Kelly attended and graduated from the University of Kansas in 2007 with a degree in Early Education and Psychology. She is now in her 12th year of teaching and absolutely loves it.

She is a big animal advocate and have 3 rescue dogs of my own, Bailey, Britney, and Benny. She married her best friend Craig Thrasher on September 27th, 2013

Her hobbies include dog walking, sand and court volleyball, basketball, hiking, traveling, kayaking, enjoying the fine arts of Kansas City, cycling, and yoga. She loves her friends and family and tries to live each day to the fullest!

LES GATREL

Les was born in Nebraska and grew up in Iowa. There, he became involved in the sport of wrestling, placing 4th and 2nd in the State 3A wrestling championship. He credits starting to work in the family landscaping business at age 10 and playing other sports for some of that early success.
Wrestling continued to be a dominant theme in his life. He attended Central Missouri State University on scholarship where achieved several honors: two time All American, four MIAA titles where he was named “Outstanding Wrestler” three times, and the “Vernon Kennedy Award” for top male athlete his senior year.

After college graduation, he immediately started his highly successful coaching career, both collegiate and high school, including recognition as NCAA Rookie Coach of the Year and HS Coach of the Year in Vero Beach, FL. Les changed careers in 1985, moving into financial services, specializing in life insurance and annuities, where he continued to earn accolades for nearly 30 years.

In April 2012, everything changed abruptly with his MS diagnosis. He became very ill, had multiple ER visits and lost his balance. His wrestling buddies rallied and Les has inspired so many by riding 4,000 miles a year with Wrestling MS.

Through all of this, Les says raising his sons is the best thing he has ever had a part of doing. Trey is 31 and Zach is 28.

LISA BUCHANAN

I was born and raised in Chicago, IL. After 12 years of Catholic education I attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. I earned a degree in Communications with a Specialization in Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. My last position, before becoming a mother, was as the Assistant Director of Communications and Development at Glenwood School for Boys. We moved to Ohio where I had my two older daughters, before moving to Texas where I had my youngest daughter, who is now a senior at KU.

It was during my time in Texas that I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2003.

We have lived in the Kansas City area for 16 years now. I currently take Tysabri infusions and work part-time for Blue Valley Chemical while still keeping an eye on my three beautiful girls.

MARK CALVIN

I grew up in Guymon, Ok. and graduated from Guymon High School in 1992. I graduated from Oklahoma Panhandle State University in 1997 with a BA in Social Studies Education. Graduated from Emporia State University in ‘12 with an MA in Ed Leadership. This is my 22nd year in Education.
I’ve been married to my wife Kelly for 10 years. We have four children and 5 grandchildren.

I was diagnosed 4/27/2017 with RRMS. I am currently on Mavenclad. I work at helping fellow Warriors as much as I can.

ROMAINE SCHOTT

My name is Romaine Schott. I was born in KC and moved to Colorado for college and lived there for over 40 years raising two outstanding kids before moving back here to help my elderly father.

I was diagnosed with MS in May 2000 and cancer within the same week. After the cancer was under control, I battled the MS. I’m pleased to tell you my MS is well managed and I’m able to do some of the activities I always enjoy like riding a bicycle and hiking. I have MS, but it doesn’t have me!

SANDRA COX

My name is Sandra Cox, and I became a member of the Wrestling MS team in December 2019.

I was born and raised in Germany and started my career here in America as a German kindergarten teacher at a foreign language school. I always enjoyed working with children and over the years worked as a classroom teacher, mentor, instructional coach, and resource teacher. I was on a role, but everything slowed down in 2012. After waking up one morning with right side weakness, that continued to progress, I was diagnosed with MS. My first thought was I will be in a wheelchair in 5 years. However, over the years I learned MS is so very different for everyone. Who knew later I would have wheels, bicycle wheels that is, and be part of an awesome cycling team.

SCOTT SIZER

8 years ago, Scott was diagnosed with MS. Like many patients with MS, the first symptoms came on slowly, but eventually created daily obstacles. Scott was able to overcome them with medication and a positive attitude, continuing his career at John Deere as a logistics expert for a total of 30 years. In 2010, Scott’s symptoms became more acute and he found his daily struggle with MS had confined him to a wheelchair and scooter.

Today, Scott’s biggest challenge is the inconsistency from day to day – even hour to hour. Many tasks take 5 to 10 times the time, effort and patience someone without MS would take to complete. Physical mobility and a daily positive attitude have become increasingly difficult to maintain.

A few years ago, he met Les at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Now they are Wrestling MS teammates and inspire each other in their personal triumph over MS. Scott now has a pull up bar and a winch to assist him into his recumbent bicycle which has several custom accessories to allow for easier operation. Scott also has a training routine and dietary opportunities.

Scott and his friend Les will continue to fight MS every day; sometimes winning, sometimes not, but getting up every day with the tools and the expectation of beating this disease down one more time.

STEPHANIE MCCLAIN

I was born in Marion, KS. I was the baby of 3 girls. I graduated from Marion High in 1991 where I played volleyball and basketball in high school, then went on to play two years of college volleyball at Butler County Community College. I was accepted into KU Medical School in 1993 into their Occupational Therapy program graduating in 1996.

Throughout my 16 years of being an Occupational Therapist, I worked mainly in rehabilitation, working with adults with all kinds of physical challenges. I have been married to my husband Larry for 24 years and we have a daughter, Shelbie who is 21, and a son, Jacob who is 18. I had my first MS exacerbation in 2002 but wasn’t formally diagnosed until 2005.

I had to retire from being an OT in 2012 and now I enjoy watching my children’s many activities, scrapbooking, and playing puzzle games as well as hanging out with our golden retriever, Brady.

TODD PREHM

MS has chosen to live with me since 2004, there are many sacrifices I have made to accommodate for it. Some changes I hated, sacrificing hobbies, adapting the loss of vision caused by optic neuritis, and other MS challenges.  Additions such as the new friendships and riding a bike cannot be replaced.  The bike made me eat better, be more active, sleep better, gave me back a hobby.

Each month I get an infusion to help keep MS at bay, but if the weather is right I get on the bike. Last year I did 5,500 miles on the bike, this year my goal is 6,500. Barring bad weather and health I will get there. 2,125 miles down and 4,375 to go.

TRINA MACKEY

I was born in St. Louis, but grew up in Tucson Arizona. I met my husband, Jimmy, there and moved to Lee’s Summit after the birth of our second child. We have a daughter 25 and a son 23.

Most of the time I was a stay at home Mom. We now live at Lake Winnebago in our retirement home, although my hubby is not retired yet. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005. I was able to hide symptoms until about 2 years ago. I love being outdoors and as active as possible.

WENDY KITE

Wendy Kite was born in Tyler, Texas to Mel and Susan Stallings. Like her three siblings, Wendy attended Andy Woods Elementary School, Moore Jr. High, and Robert E. Lee High School. Wendy worked with her parents in their business, Monograms Etc., while attending college. It is there, in that little store, that in 1986, she met  Jim Kite. In January of 1988, Jim and Wendy were married in the living room of her parents’ home. Wendy graduated college in May, 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and after qualifying for teaching certification, began her career as a teacher. Over the next seven years the Kites had three children. Wendy taught school for five years in Texas before the family moved to Kansas. Wendy has taught school in Kansas since 1999.

Wendy and Jim have three children Jamie, Allison, and Leah, a daughter-in-law, Emily, a son-in-law, Lane and a 2 grandsons Hank and Walt. Wendy was diagnosed with MS in 2017.