North Texas student fighting MS through golf

- A North Texas high school student has raised more than $57,000 to support a cause that is personal to her. And she's not finished yet. FOX 4's Shannon Murray explains.

Coach Kevin Johnson would normally be helping Savanna Roulette with her golf swing. But she just had surgery and for now is just enjoying the green via a golf cart.

“I had a bone spurt that tore my labrum. Between golf and working out, it tore even more,” she said.

The Westridge Golf Course in McKinney is like a second home to Savana. She’s been working with Coach Johnson for two years.

What’s hard to tell is that Coach Johnson is the one battling multiple sclerosis, a disabling disease. It’s a disease of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal court. The cause is still unknown and there is no cure.

“Everything is kind of on my left side. My left leg kind of goes numb or feels like a dead leg. It just feels heavey and you can’t walk right,” he said.

It took a while for Savanna to notice Coach Johnson’s symptoms even through it’s a disease she’s all too familiar with. Her mom, Trish, was diagnosed with MS when she was just 3 years old.

“Most of my difficulty comes with walking. When fatigue hits me, which is often, I can’t walk,” her mom said. “I’ve always been a very active person. I would do a lot of running and all that kind of stuff. I can’t do that anymore.”

Coach Johnson said everyday tasks can be a challenge and he has trouble with coordination on his left side.

“I feel that during my swing so partly I don’t play because it’s frustrating. I can’t do what I did growing up and in college,” he said.

Now he finds joy in coaching.

“It’s more fun for me to see them doing well,” he said.

Savanna is approaching her senior year at Lovejoy High School and had to come up with something to help the community for her senior project. She said the choice was obvious.

“Ever since I was little I knew I’d do something to benefit the MS Society since my mom has MS,” she said.

This fall she will host a golf tournament to benefit the organization. And while she’s temporarily forced to sit on the sidelines her $77,000 goal is all she’s focused on.

“Since I’ve been hurt I’ve raised $10,000 more dollars here in the last two weeks,” she said.

It’s a way to give back to the woman who raised her and the mentor who’s become like family.

“I definitely say it affects more people than you’d realize,” she said.

Savanna is just $20,000 away from her goal. Her tournament “Tee It Up Fore MS” is on Sept. 21. For more information, visit www.teeitupforems.weebly.com.

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