Seahawks mascot keeps flying despite Multiple Sclerosis

Apr 6, 2012, 5:01 PM | Updated: Apr 9, 2012, 10:40 am
LISTEN:
Ryan Asdourian uses his role as the Seahawks mascot, Blitz, to help fight Multiple Sclerosis. (Ryan Asdourian photo)
(Ryan Asdourian photo)

Ryan Asdourian has a seemingly endless supply of energy.
When you’re the Seahawks mascot, Blitz, you pretty much have to. So it was troubling to him when he started to feel strange.

“One day I just woke up. It’s that feeling when your foot goes to sleep. I had that feeling in both feet. And then it started trickling up my body to the point where it was up to my rib cage and my whole body was numb for days and I was just tingling. I was like ‘Well, something is definitely wrong,'” he said.

Something was wrong. Asdourian was diagnosed with
Multiple Sclerosis. He’s far from alone. The nervous-system disease afflicts more than 12,000 people in
the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Multiple
Sclerosis Society.

“We don’t know the cause of MS and we don’t have a cure
for MS,” said Patty Shepherd-Barnes, president of the
Greater Northwest Chapter of the NMSC.

“The good news is that since the mid 90s, more and more
disease-modifying therapies are coming into existence,”
said Shepherd-Barnes. “The bad news is that with some
people, none of these therapies slow the disease.”

For a guy who gets paid to run around in a bird suit and
give high fives, Asdourian tries hard not to let MS slow him down.

And he’s become a huge activist, raising money through his Team Blitz with everything from pub crawls to the annual MS Walk.

“I go out and talk to support groups, I’ll talk to lots of people at the walk,” he said.

Asdourian is also part of a support group at Microsoft, where he works.

“So we kind of make sure that everyone has the resources,” he said. “That they can talk to people.”

Asdourian’s relatively lucky. While MS doesn’t slow him
most days, the disease can be debilitating, causing everything from near paralysis to blindness.

The need for help continues growing. The NMSC is a
critical lifeline for people with M.S. and their families
and caregivers, providing all types of badly needed
support.

They depend on fundraisers like Walk MS April 15 at
the University of Washington and across the state.

Asdourian will walk half of it, then magically Blitz will
appear to walk the other. But don’t expect the bird to
say a lot.

“I can make gestures, I’ve become very good at
interpretive dance, so come on out,” he joked.

And while MS can be crippling, it doesn’t have to be.
Asdourian says he hopes he can continue to inspire others.

“I like to have fun,” he said. “I love to be constantly active. I don’t want to let this slow me down so I’m not going to let it.”

That’s why Bonneville Seattle, Les Schwab Tire Centers,
and PODS of Seattle are proud to honor the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as our charity of the month.

Local News

(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

35 Marysville teachers receive layoff notices after voters reject levy extensions

Thirty-five teachers in the Marysville School District received layoff notices last week, after voters rejected levy measures that would have funded 14-18% of the district’s overall budget.
18 hours ago
...
Gwen Baumgardner

Car thefts are on the rise in the region

In Seattle, there have been 2,075 vehicle thefts already this year. Seattle police reported that approximately 86% of stolen cars are recovered.
2 days ago
Kirkland, WA (Getty Images)...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Tax hikes to join booming property values in East King County

Property values in select cities in East King County have skyrocketed, leading King County Assessor John Wilson to warn homeowners about noticeable increases in property taxes.
2 days ago
Pike Place...
MyNorthwest Staff

Enraged Pike Place motorist pleads not guilty to assault with a motor vehicle charges

A man arrested for an assault stemming from a Pike Place incident pleads not guilty in King County Superior Court.
3 days ago
tukwila...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Prolific Seattle-area smash-and-grab ATM thieves formerly arrested for murder

60 robberies involving trucks driving into local stores to steal ATMs and cash registers may be solved with the arrest of two men at a Tukwila motel Friday morning.
3 days ago
schools...
Dalton Day

Rival to First Student exposes Seattle Schools’ fumbled bidding war

First Student's competition has accused Seattle Public Schools of “arbitrarily and improperly” awarding a district contract to First Student.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seahawks mascot keeps flying despite Multiple Sclerosis