I caught up with with Sue Dela Rue, the inaugural recipient of the Mastering Mountains Grant. It’s been one year since she received the grant and a few months since she accomplished her trek up and over Maungatautari Mountain. I asked her a few questions:
A few months on from achieving your amazing goal, how does it feeling when you think about what you have accomplished?
I am still on cloud nine; I still can’t believe I did it!
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned over the last year?
The biggest thing I have learned is that with the right help and support, I can do so much more than I thought was possible. I feel like no goal is out of reach!
How did Mastering Mountains help you achieve your goal?
Mastering Mountains helped me in so many ways, not only supporting me financially by paying my personal trainer fees, but also by providing me with training shoes and ongoing encouragement and check-ins all the way. My goal still would be a dream without the grant — so a huge thank you!
I would also like to thank MitoQ’s sponsorship, providing me with a year’s supply of supplement. This boosted my energy and enabled me to achieve my goal. Macpac was also a very generous sponsor, providing me with all my training and tramping gear. I was comfortable and balanced (with the walking poles) all the way! I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Mastering Mountains and my sponsors.
How has your achievement changed you?
Well, it has changed my life by giving me confidence. Gaining fitness has improved my health and has kept my MS symptoms to a bare minimum — something that is amazing to me. This gives me a huge incentive to keep active and stay as healthy as possible. My mindset has also changed and I challenge myself more now. I don’t stand there anymore and say, “I’m not going to be able to do this.” Now I give it a go and give it my all!
How has your achievement changed people around you?
To begin with, not everyone knew I had MS and I was unsure how I would feel about people knowing that I struggle with MS every day. Along the way, I honestly felt people did not believe that I would achieve my goal because of the MS. People don’t understand MS and I found that hard.
Despite this, the encouragement and support I received was enormous! My boss got on board and allowed me to merge my breaks and train every day. After completing my mission, I had emails and calls of encouragement, even from people I have never met. I was blown away.
The biggest thing was the realisation that I had inspired others through my journey. People with MS and without have been getting out there and achieving their own goals because of me. This amazed me as I never thought that my actions could inspire others like this.
The scholarship has helped raise awareness not just for Multiple Sclerosis but also for the fact that those suffering from this disease can do much more than they think, when they have encouragement, help and support.
What’s one thing that you’d say to people with MS?
You have MS, but MS does not have you! Get support, get out there and achieve your dreams. Remember that just trying to achieve a dream is exhilarating – even if you don’t quite make it!
What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to this year’s recipients?
Embrace all the support and don’t hide your MS. Once people are aware of your struggles, they will encourage you more than you can imagine and support you. Enjoy every moment of your journey or adventure and don’t stop there!
Pictures from Sue’s mission up and over Maungatautari Mountain.