April Hester: Seeking New Challenges With MS


Multiple sclerosis won’t stop April Hester from going the distance – literally. She and her husband have embraced exercise as an outlet to improve symptoms and quality of life, largely through hiking. After having hiked the Palmetto Trail in South Carolina three times, they now plan to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

April Hester knew that something was wrong when her feet and legs began to tingle. When the symptoms persisted, she went to an emergency department and, later, a neurologist. An MRI revealed brain lesions that led to a diagnosis of MS.

Ms. Hester decided to keep a positive attitude and not let this diagnosis slow her down. She remembered enjoying small hikes in Colorado as a child, and these memories inspired her and her husband to hike in their home state of South Carolina. At first, Ms. Hester found herself tripping and getting tired. But she got stronger with regular exercise, and she and her husband ultimately hiked the Palmetto Trail three times.

Encouraged and seeking new challenges, Ms. Hester and her husband have decided to hike the Appalachian Trail on May 4, 2020. This hike is challenging for anyone, and it entails additional difficulties for people with MS. But Ms. Hester is undaunted and has been getting ready for her long trek over difficult terrain.

How will Ms. Hester deal with foot drop, balance problems, and fatigue? How will she take her medicines? Will she need special hiking gear? Join Ms. Hester on her MS Journey and find out what she already has chosen as her next challenge.

Ms. Hester and her husband will chronicle their Appalachian Trail journey in an online journal, as well as on Instagram and on a map showing their location.