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Woman with MS Summits Everest and Completes the Seven Summits
Date:4/7/2010

eir perceived limitations. Since summiting Everest, she has been a featured speaker at events of the National MS Society, and will speak in several European countries to commemorate World MS Day on May 26.

MS is a condition that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and can produce neurological symptoms and physical and cognitive disabilities. For Schneider, it was diagnosed when the left side of her body became numb overnight, after years of experiencing symptoms intermittently. Those symptoms and vision problems come and go, and she's grateful that they have abated in recent years. "At first I saw my MS diagnosis as devastating," says Schneider. "Now I see that it has been a positive catalyst in my life and moved me closer to living my dreams. My mission is to give hope to others who are living with this condition."

Schneider was also an unusual climber on Everest because of her "ordinariness." A 52-year-old retired grade school teacher with no corporate sponsors, a limited budget, no high altitude training trips or professional trainers, she was not a typical climber. "Not very many climbers make it their first time, and I knew I'd only have one shot," she recalls. "I took a leap of faith and prepared as best I could with what I had." Schneider trained for Everest by repeatedly climbing up and down ski runs at Mt. Ashwabay, a ski hill a few miles from her home, carrying a pack with 50 pounds of dog food on her back. Ashwabay, at 1,283 feet, is dwarfed by the 29,034 foot Everest, but "a step is a step, no matter where you take it," according to Schneider. Some days she flung herself down the slopes to practice stopping her slide with her ice axe, a skill that can be life-saving on Everest. Carrying the pack, she worked out on the treadmill an
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