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"Empowered by Adversity: How One Woman with MS Defied the Odds to Become an Athlete"

Autumn Neugent is one of our outstanding Captain athletes with myTEAM TRIUMPH! Despite her battle with MS (Multiple sclerosis), Autumn is no stranger to success!

Having been named Ms. Wheelchair WI 2019, obtaining her Blackbelt in Martial Arts, completing the IRONMAN, and being an outspoken advocate for equal opportunities, there is no obstacle too big for her!

Women with MS finishes the Wisconsin Ironman
Autumn crossing the finish line at the 2023 Wisconsin Ironman

Autumn the Athlete

Autumn has long been an empowered woman with a passion for anything and everything active.

"I’ve always identified as a strong, outspoken force, an athlete, coach, teacher, an active person."

After Autumn was diagnosed with MS in 2009, she noticed that her physical abilities started to decline. With always being highly involved and active, she feared losing her identity.

In order to seek support, she found the UW Adaptive Fitness program and the Madison SCI group where she found herself surrounded by people who were DOING, LIVING and EMBRACING their abilities!

"I soon recognized that I was still the same person! Although my body had changed, I was able to adapt and I have reestablished my identity!"

Defying Odds and Breaking Barriers

MS has not stopped Autumn from excelling in all aspects of her life. It is clear with her many accomplishments that when struck with adversity she defies all odds! Autumn thinks outside of the box in order to remain active and empowers others to do the same.

"MS has changed the way my body works (for or against me)," says Autumn. "myTEAM TRIUMPH has made me feel comfortable with the level of physical participation my body allows."

Multiple sclerosis

Autumn is a great example of overcoming adversity and finding new ways to feel empowered with her disability. From being diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), Autumn's body and way of life has undergone major changes.

What is multiple sclerosis (MS) and how does it affect a person's daily life?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

With MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. For many this can result in losing the ability to walk independently or ambulate at all.

There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are treatments to help speed the recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.

What is Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy?

Empowered with myTEAM TRIUMPH

After only being with myTEAM TRIUMPH for a little over a year, Autumn has built an astounding race portfolio with us! Her first race was no small feet being that it was the 2022 Madison Marathon. Since that first race Autumn grew a love for the people, organization, and mission.

Wisconsin Ironman Disabled person swimming

"MTT sets such an example for assisting those who never thought endurance sports were possible to not only compete but successfully complete races! Being a part of MTT is something to be proud of. It’s difficult to explain the feeling! Thank you!"

Memories that Last a Lifetime

Autumn has experienced fond memories in her short time with myTEAM TRIUMPH. She has grown great connections with many of the Angels who guide her on race day and even a friendship with our Executive Director, Dave Konshak.

When asked about her most memorable experience with myTEAM TRIUMPH Autumn states,

"My most memorable experiences with MTT? I mean every time I participate, memories are made… from acquiring a stick as a team mascot, blaring 90’s rap in areas it may not be appreciated, or enjoying the waves of lakes while passing by and over other swimmers… I laugh and smile for entire races from 10k to Ironman…"

Autumn speaks highly of her 2023 Ironman team consisting of Brent Stefanich, Tim Muldoon, and Susan Sheely! She loved training with this group and experienced many laughs along the way. Some standout moments for Autumn include flying down hills behind Tim or Brent on the bike runs as well as having the honor of carrying a photo of Susan's late mother during the races.

Read more about TEAM Autumn at the Ironman: View Article

At myTEAM TRIUMPH Wisconsin we pride ourselves on being one big FAMILY! Autumn is a proud member of this larger piece and we are thankful for her as much as she is a thankful for us! She expresses her gratitude for the organization by saying,

"Thank you so much to every Angel, volunteer and staff member of MTT. I could never thank you enough, as wordy as I am, I still don’t feel as if I’ve adequately expressed my gratitude! THANK YOU!!!"

Autumn Beyond the Athlete

Autumn's passion and heart goes far beyond her athletic career. She is a loving mom, daughter, coach, teacher and advocate. With all of these titles, Autumn still finds time to enjoy reading, listening to 90's hip hop and eating lots of good food.

Autumn has so much love and support around her including her 24 year old daughter Jada, her mom Jiny, dog Phoebe, cat Kiki and close companion Dameon.

"I would say I have several role models… top of the list, the strong and relentless force that is my mother, Jiny McCorkle. I am who I am because of the love and support of this beautiful woman.

Empowered by Adversity

Autumn continues to use her diagnosis of MS as a way to propel her into new adventures and opportunities. She is truly unstoppable and her list of accomplishments continues to expand. We know that she will continue being a strong and empowered advocate for people with disabilities.

We are positive that Autumn will continue to show us how EXTRAORDINARY she is. We are so lucky to have Autumn as a family member of myTEAM TRIUMPH!

YOU can support Autumn and myTEAM TRIUMPH by donating or getting involved!

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