Edmonton woman’s battle with MS featured in documentary, 'MS'ed with the Wrong Girl'
Seven years ago, Patrycia Rzechowka was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Every year since, she has taken part in the MS Bike Tour from Leduc to Camrose and is on track to raise a cumulative $100,000 by the end of 2019.
Rzechowka never meant to become a role model for the community.
“I just wanted to make a difference. I just wanted to fight for myself so I didn’t feel like I was giving up,” she says.
She used to think, “If my face is on TV one day, and someone just got diagnosed with MS disease, (they’ll know) they can reach out to me and know that they’re not alone.”
But a recent project hasn’t just landed her on TV: Rzechowka is headed to the big screen as the subject of a 22-minute documentary called MS’ed With The Wrong Girl.
The film follows Rzechowka as she completes the 2018 MS bike tour, offering insight to the mental endurance that pushes the young woman through long days of work, advocacy, and chronic fatigue or other MS symptoms.
“The story shifted from that being a super successful way to live your day, to what are the drawbacks that could happen from that? What is the balancing act you have to do? If you stay that busy, is there burnout?” explained Edmonton-based film director Kelly Wolfert.
“It’s a hero story—but what’s the cost to the hero?”
Rzechowka was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012 after she briefly lost vision in her left eye.
The film’s title borrows from a personal motto she had tattooed on her thigh shortly after: “You MS’ed with the wrong girl.”
“In the event if I do ever end up in a wheelchair,” Rzechowka told CTV News Edmonton, “on the tough days I’ll be able to look down and be like, no, I’ve still got this.”
The tough days weren’t hidden from the documentary cameras, however. Instead, the struggles Rzechowka normally hides from loved ones are central to the storyline.
“I don’t want anything to come across as ‘woe is me’. But at the same time, I think people seeing the struggles is what is going to be the most meaningful,” Rzechowka said.
“(MS) is invisible otherwise.”
Wolfert observed, “She has a grace about her, but there’s the juxtaposition of being so feisty. And I think that that’s the part of her personality that she really dips into to be able to battle the symptoms that she has with MS.”
“For the most part, people don’t know the battle that goes on.”
MS’ed with the Wrong Girlwill premiere June 25 at The Rec Room at South Edmonton Common. Details and tickets can be found online. A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.
The film will later be available on StoryHive.com starting July 15.
Multiple sclerosis has been called Canada’s disease, as Canada has one of the highest rates of diagnosis in the world. An estimated one in 385 Canadians lives with the auto-immune disease.