Updated Jul 26, 2012 - 1:01 pm
Golf pro, caddy takes her swing at MS
The University of Arizona graduate made a decent living on the LPGA tour for nearly 13 years. She used to compete in the Safeco Classic at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Wash.
In 1993, Heather Drew's pro golf career and life were turned upside down.
"I was playing in a pro-am in Phoenix and started noticing things weren't right with my body," shared Drew. "I had tingling, some numbness, and one of my feet felt heavy. At first, I thought, maybe I just tweaked my back, I'm a golfer right?"
Heather's first doctor diagnosed her with a neurological disorder of the spinal cord, which didn't appear to have lasting effects.
Three years later, Drew was signing autographs and couldn't grip the pen. Her entire left side was numb, her right side weak from chest down to the feet. She flew back to California and tests revealed she had a form of MS.
"It was scary. Pretty much the first thing out of my mouth was, 'When will I be in a wheelchair?" Drew admitted during our interview at her brother's Seattle home. "That just shows how little I knew about the disease. Sixteen years later, I know a lot more about relapsing-remitting MS, which is the type I have."
While only 400,000 Americans have the debilitating disease of the central nervous system, the Pacific Northwest unfortunately, is an MS hot bed. There are more than 12,000 known cases here, with no known cure and no logical explanation for its prominence.
Each day, Heather injects herself with Copaxone, a medicine which controls her symptoms. It allows her to be strong enough to lug around a 40-pound golf bag as a caddy for her friend and golf professional Allison Finney. They will be paired this Sunday in the LPGA Legends Swing for the Cure at Inglewood Country Club in Kenmore, Wash.
If you're a golf fan, you'll love watching greats like Jan Stephenson, Pat Bradley, Amy Alcott, Rosie Jones, and Kirkland own JoAnne Carner. The 18-hole tournament gives 100 percent of ticket proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure Puget Sound, an organization dedicated to ending breast cancer forever.
Make sure to look for the caddy wearing the white "Team Capaxone" ball cap. Heather Drew will be having fun and living life to the fullest.
Follow Bill Swartz, 710 ESPN Seattle
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