In Memory of Jimmie Heuga (1943-2010)
Jimmie Heuga, founder of The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis in Colorado, passed away on February 8, 2010. Renamed "Can Do Multiple Sclerosis," this center continues to carry on Heuga’s philosophy and passion for teaching individuals with MS to live life to the fullest.
Heuga was born in 1943 and grew up near Lake Tahoe, California. He became a champion skier, and at age 15, was the youngest man named to the United States’ Ski Team. Heuga went on to participate in the 1964 and 1968 Olympics (as well as other international ski competitions), breaking records as one of the first Americans to place or win in these events.
Heuga began experiencing symptoms in 1967, and was diagnosed with MS in 1970 at the age of 26. While doctors at that time advised against physical activity for fear of exacerbating the disease, Heuga believed that staying active, setting goals, and making healthy lifestyle choices was the best way to live life with MS. He continued to stay physically active throughout his years by skiing with special "sit ski" equipment, biking with a hand-pedaled tricycle, and swimming. In 1984, he founded The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis, where he could teach others to actively pursue their own personal health and wellbeing.
Heuga will be remembered as a pioneer in promoting healthy lifestyle changes for individuals with MS through his whole-person approach. While he will be greatly missed, his valuable contributions will continue to live on by helping and inspiring members of the MS community. The staff of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America offers its sincere sympathy to the family and many friends of Jimmie Heuga.