Winning Race For Her Life

Kelly Sutton travels to the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend to finish her first full season on the Goody’s Dash Series. But, unlike the other drivers, she can claim a victory without taking the checkered flag. The third-generation driver, and 30-year-old mother of two, is the first person with a known diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) to compete in a NASCAR series.

Sutton raced to the front of the NASCAR Touring Division pack this season with a Top 10 finish in Memphis and a 12th-place finish at historic Bristol. The Team COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) driver has climbed into the Top 15 in points, maintaining a steady run at Rookie of the Year all season.

“It’s been a good season. We are 12th in overall rankings and continue to have high expectations,” Sutton said. “The car is in great shape, and the team is ready to go. We hope to come out of this weekend with a great finish on the season!”

This driver is not afraid of challenges. Sutton is not only battling the other drivers, but wages a fight against MS. Diagnosed at age 16, Sutton has fought a daily battle with MS for most of her life. She is determined not to let it get her down or keep her from racing.

“My family rallied behind me to keep me focused on the positive and on the future successes I hoped to have in racing,” said Sutton. “When I would get down about the disease, my dad would tell me to focus on the track. With the help of my passion for racing, learning more about the disease, and daily medication, I am here today pursuing my dreams!”

For the past two seasons, Kelly Sutton, her family, and crew have been on a steady learning curve in the Goody’s Dash Series. In 2001, Sutton finished 32nd in the Series standings despite running a limited season, and this year, put that knowledge to work.

Sutton sees this season as a positive development for Team COPAXONE®.

"We really pulled together as a team this year,” Sutton said. “We faced some hardship and challenges, but we have taken every opportunity to try new things, embrace technology, and put the best car on the track every week. Next season, I know we will be even better because of the challenges we’ve endured!”

Sutton is just one example of someone who is living with relapsing-remitting MS and pursuing dreams. Established in 2000, Team COPAXONE® celebrates the accomplishments of people like Kelly who refuse to let MS stand in their way. Team members are working to change the perceptions that society holds of people living with MS.

The days when the doctor sends people home and tells them to go to bed and prepare for a wheelchair are slowly disappearing. Today, a combination of healthy diet, exercise, medical management, and willpower are helping people like Kelly Sutton pursue their dreams.

“I want people to know they can still achieve their dreams, that life does not end after the diagnosis,” Sutton stated.

Through nationwide speaking engagements on MS, Sutton has found, not only is she able to motivate the audience, but she also is inspired by them.

“Each talk I give or event I attend, I meet someone who touches my heart and makes me feel connected to all the other people who are fighting the same battle I am,” Sutton said. “I am fortunate that I have been able to keep doing what I love, and I try to tell people to find their passion and go for it. Don’t let MS stand in the way.”

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