Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease which is inflammation of the central nervous system. The disease takes muscles ability to function and is believed to be an autoimmune disease.
Ryan Zimmerman was only 11 when his mother Cheryl was diagnosed with MS. When he was 16, his mother became wheelchair bound. Now, Cheryl Zimmerman can no longer move any part of her body below her shoulders.
After his mother was diagnosed with the debilitating disease, Ryan and his brother Shawn were acutely affected growing up. They weren’t like the other kids their age. They helped run the house by cooking and cleaning, and making errands their mother couldn’t because of a disease that stole her abilities to function and independence.
“It made him grow up a lot faster,” Cheryl Zimmerman said of her diagnosis of MS.
Now Ryan Zimmerman isn’t a young baseball player growing up in the Virginia Beach area, or an emerging star at the University of Virginia. No, these days he’s one of the top third basemen in all of baseball and one of the current Nationals who’s been around long enough to see the bad and emerge on the cusp of something special. Among the numerous accolades, baseball recognition, and constantly playing baseball day in and day out, Zimmerman’s roots, his mother and her battle with MS isn’t too far off in his thoughts.