Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sutton Educates as She Races

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sutton Educates as She Races

Article excerpt

DAYTONA BEACH -- After a chance meeting in her hometown diner, 29-year-old Kelly Sutton has gone from a single mom and waitress to a married regular on the NASCAR circuit.

Sutton, a native of Crownsville, Md., begins her second season in the Goody's Dash Series, a NASCAR Touring Division, this afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. She qualified Thursday to race her No. 02 Pontiac Sunfire in the AC Delco 200.

Racing has become her full-time occupation. She used to think it was an unreachable dream after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 16.

"At that time, it was just a devastating part of my life," said Sutton, who married Butch Fabiszak last June. "I didn't think it would happen. After learning about the disease and learning about my body and my limitations, I realized that I could race."

Sutton is the first active Goody's Dash driver with multiple sclerosis. The disease is marked by temporary attacks of numbness, blurred vision and difficulty walking among other symptoms, followed by periods of remission. She is a member of Team Copaxone, which consists of herself, a snowmobiler, marathon runner, sea kayaker and championship powerlifter.

As a spokesperson for Copaxone, a medication to treat multiple sclerosis, Sutton travels the country to raise awareness about MS and options for managing the disease. She has been in remission for three years, and has taken Copaxone for nearly two years. She was out of racing for a year after suffering a relapse of her disease in 1996 following a passenger car accident.

"It's a very intrusive disease, and there seems to be a real benefit in having people discuss how they manage this disease," said Copaxone product director Jon Congleton, who oversees Team Copaxone. "Kelly has a real passion for communicating with people about what she's doing to manage it. …

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