Woman Goes on Mission to Live Healthier After Being Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
Stacey Koury of Canton, Georgia tackles MS, then powerlifting with the help of the team at the Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute at Shepherd Center.
Stacey Koury, 38, a former police officer from Canton, Georgia, registered for her first powerlifting competition in September 2017 – a decade after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
She finished first in her weight class.
This February, Stacey entered a statewide meet. She didn’t place in that one, but still left inspired by the women in the competition.
“It lit a fire under me to do more,” she says. “I always compare myself to other lifters, and I have to remind myself how far I’ve come.”
In 2007, Stacey could barely lift herself out of bed. She had headaches, vertigo, numbness in her legs and feet. When her head dropped, it felt “like I was electrocuted.” Her weight ballooned.
MS is a cunningly elusive disease to diagnose and treat. No two patients seem to react in quite the same. One doctor thought Stacey had a fractured back.
Stacey endured a six-year journey as an outpatient before a treatment worked without her MS relapsing.
“They did an amazing job,” she says of MS Institute staff. “People were so supportive.”
Stacey then went on a mission to live healthier. She lost 100 pounds. She became a certified personal trainer. When she met a couple at her gym who were record-holding powerlifters, she thought, “That looks like fun.”
She was soon competing. A nurse from Shepherd Center attended her first meet, and Stacey came back to show the staff her medal. But she’s not content to rest on those laurels.
“Before I was diagnosed, if someone told me I couldn’t do something, I’d do it,” she says. “I put that part of me on the back burner, and now that I have the chance to do it again. Nothing is going to stop me.”
For more information about the Andrew C. Carlos MS Institute at Shepherd Center or to schedule an appointment, visit shepherd.org/ms.
The MS Institute is able to offer the full range of services it does is because of contributions from individuals, foundations and businesses. Funds from Synovus Summer in the City, held July 18, 2018, benefit the Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute. To get more information on Synovus Summer in the City, contact Erin Schuster at 404-350-7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Drew Jubera
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.