Here is our amazing Dad in a nutshell:
Russell Scott was born on February 6, 1967 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He began his cycling career on a recreational basis when at age 13 he decided to participate in a local century (100 mile) bike ride around Utah Lake. This was a follow up to the marathons that he had run when he was 11 and 12 years old.
He heard that century bike rides were the equivalent to marathons, but on a bike. This first century bike ride took him and his friend approximately 8 hours to complete. After this, he began to participate in some local bike racing and started to see some success.
Over the next two years he became more serious and at age 16, decided to enter the 1983 Utah State Championship Road Race. He was in the Junior category that year and won his first state championship. Later that year, these results led him to the Olympic Training Center (OTC). One hundred Junior boys from across the United States were invited for a 2 week winter training camp at the OTC in Colorado Springs, and this motivated Russell to focus on his cycling future.
In the following years, Russell was invited back to the OTC a number of times. After winning the Utah State Championship Road Race for a third time, in 1985, he was asked to represent the United States by participating with the US Junior National Team to ride in the World Championships in Stuttgart, West Germany.
That year, Russell had also been a member of the Junior Men's 7-Eleven Cycling Team, and the following year he would be invited to ride with the 1986 7-Eleven Senior Men’s Team which was the first U.S. bicycle racing team to race in the Tour de France.
By 1986, Russell could easily ride 100 miles in approximately 4 hours. He was a member of the amateur branch of the team with Frankie Andreau (one year Russell’s senior). Although the team had been invited to race the Tour that year, because of their age and amateur status, neither Frankie nor Russell raced with the team in the Tour. However, Frankie went on to ride the Tour approximately 10 times. The first few years were with the original team and sponsorship, and later with different sponsorships, team managers, and teammates.
These different teammates included Lance Armstrong. Although Russell was not diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis until April of 1991, the diagnosis revealed one of the main reasons for the early ending to his cycling career.
At the time of his diagnosis, he learned that what he had been dismissing since 1985 as being the result of exhaustion from strenuous racing up mountains had actually been early MS symptoms.
After his cycling career ended, in spite of his continually deteriorating health, Russell pushed forward with life. On May 1, 1991 Russell and Teresa were married. In 1992 Russell completed a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Brigham Young University and followed that with a law degree from Seattle University in 1996. Although his cycling career had an untimely end, he did not let that stop him.
In 1996, he began practicing patent law. During those years, highlights were his years when he worked at one of the largest private law firms in the United States, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. He also later worked as in-house counsel for Intel Americas, Inc.
In part, to accommodate his failing health, he eventually began to practice law from a home office. He was able to do this until making the difficult decision to de-activate his law license. Also along the way, his family grew from a young couple in love willing to begin an unpredictable life adventure together, to a loving family of six with four children with a variety of talents and needs.
At the present, due to his health, Russell is necessarily under-employed. He never anticipated that the woman of his dreams would be providing the majority of the financial and physical support for his family. He is grateful for a positive and hard working spouse.
We know that our Dad has many struggles, but honestly, he doesn't present himself to us as someone who was robbed of life. We know it is hard on him, but he tries to be just as involved in activities with the family that a healthy dad does. It is not unusual to see us hiking up a hill and either carrying Dad in the arm chair carry, or all of us gathered behind him pushing his wheel chair up a mountain or on the beach just to get him there.
As you can tell from his history above, he always pushed himself in everything he did and even though he cannot walk without assistance, he still pushes himself. Dad may not be able to coach our teams, play basketball with us, throw the football, or even drive a car anymore, but he always took advantage of every moment he had to do those things when he could.
He is likely more involved with our lives than most Dads because he is home when we come home from school and loves to get us talking about our day. We know that this is not the life he expected and worked so hard for. However, we believe he has truly done the best he could with what he has been given and he has been a great Dad.
Dad is hoping to have his first stem cell infusions this year. Besides all the preliminary expenses of testing him for AIDS and other dangerous illnesses, his first expense will be for him to have a minor lipo procedure in Austin to have his own cells removed to begin the whole stem cell process.
The main expenses will be when he begins to receive both IV and IT infusions. This runs about $25k. That doesn't count travel and living expenses to get to a doctor (US doctor) that is qualified to administer the infusions outside of the US.
For three weeks, he has to stay in a hotel out of the country. While there, he should be fine because he won’t be traveling and he just got a new electric wheelchair. Plus, Mom will be staying with him during the first week.
If stem cells work for him, this cycle will be repeated about 3 times over the following year, and then once each year after that until they find a way to stop disease progression in MS. Without financial help, the promising new stem cell treatments that could help our Dad regain some health will be financially out of reach.
Please help us raise the funds necessary for the stem cell treatments. If there is even a slight chance that it would benefit our Dad, we want to try.