Local mom overcomes MS with Crossfit

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A local mom said she is beating the odds and not letting a life-changing diagnosis slow her down. Lisa Nunley was devasted after being diagnosed with a disease that affected her central nervous system and essentially her ability to walk and use her hands but she found a way to fight the disease. “I was having issues and they did an MRI and it showed pretty significant brain damage,” Nunley said.

Nearly 20 years ago, Nunley was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her health started deteriorating. “I was devastated because the only person I knew with MS was my college professor’s wife. She was wheelchair-bound and I thought, oh no, this was going to be my life.”

Nunley was married and had two children at the time. She was determined not to let the disease hold her back. “Movement is essential to life and living and if you become stagnant it is like slowly dying.”

MS weakened her left arm, her hands and her legs. She began using a walker for stability. Her husband suggested a fitness program and in 2011 she walked into her first Crossfit class.

Crossfit 540, Owner Trevor Belline said, “with her warrior spirit she was able to come in and attack workouts and really has gone out of her way to not let her condition dictate what she can or cannot do.” Nunley has been training at the gym since 2013.

Nunley made a decision to not use medications, focus on physical therapy and Crossfit training. She uses a medical device called the Bioness L 300, which stimulates the nerves in her legs and helps her walk. Not long after, she ditched the walker for Worldwide Crossfit competitions. Nunley said “things aren’t perfect but I’m still moving and I am moving well.

Nunley is now a mother of six. Crossfit remains part of her life and she said she’ll keep taking classes every week for as long as she can. Nunley said the support of her Crossfit community and her family keeps her going. She continues to raise awareness about MS and her goal is to give hope to people with physical disabilities.

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