By Krissie Rutherford, Published in the Oakville Beaver March 2, 2007

Instructor Nestor Granados (right) helps Nancy Padalino on one of the weight machines at the YMCA of Oakville.

Nancy Padalino was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at age 26.

It hit suddenly, and it hit hard.

“I woke up one day and the whole left side of my body was numb,” she said. “I couldn’t feel a thing.”

Days later, Padalino underwent emergency brain surgery. When she woke up, her left side was paralyzed.

“Even my face,” said the Oakville resident. “I was only 26, so I was pretty devastated. For this to happen to someone as athletic and outgoing as I am, it was just unheard of.”

Two years later, Padalino experienced a relapse and went blind. Five years after that, with her vision nearly back to normal, Padalino had her biggest relapse yet. It left her paralyzed from the neck down.

“You can just imagine what a person goes through when something like this happens to you,” she said. “I was absolutely devastated. My self esteem had just gone right through the tubes.”

Now 38, Padalino is in a wheelchair and for the past five years has been living at Oakville’s March of Dimes supportive living centre.

If you ask her when things started to improve, it’s October of 2006.