All who knew him, either personally or through his life’s mission to improve life with MS, are mourning the passing of Jimmie Heuga. Heuga died Monday at the age of 66.
Though best known in the MS community as founder of The Heuga Center, which bore his name for 25 years before a recent change to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, the sports world first took note of Heuga in 1964. It was then that he stunned the international skiing community by winning the bronze medal in slalom at the Winter Olympics.
Heuga would prove to be a pioneer on and off the ski slopes. Though his first MS symptoms appeared in 1967, Heuga was not diagnosed with MS until 1970. At 26, he was at the peak of his skiing career. Not only did Heuga ignore his doctors advice to avoid physical activity (which was thought to cause exacerbation of symptoms) but he also went on to develop a MS treatment program of physical activity, goal setting, and psychological motivation.
Wanting to share his program with others, Heuga founded The Heuga Center in 1984. He used the center to promote a philosophy of pursing total health – physical, mental and emotional. Though a challenge to conventional medicine of that time, Heuga’s total wellness philosophy has become a standard in MS care today.