Ennis fights back for a healthy life

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Suffolk citizen Bobbie Ennis is living to defy the odds. 

Despite her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis as a young adult, she has dedicated herself to staying healthy and fit, all while being a single mother. This determination has seen Ennis take part in bike races, marathons and triathlons.

Now, she is running in the quarterfinals for the title of Ms. Health and Fitness and to be featured on the cover of “Muscle and Fitness HERS Magazine.”

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“I want to show myself that I don’t have to be a size 2 to be on a magazine or be a supermodel,” Ennis proudly affirms. “I am just an average person getting out my story while my health is allowing me to do so.”

Ennis reflected on how she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 23-years-old, nearly right after having her daughter Reagyn Harris. 

“Being so young having been diagnosed with such a serious disease was happy and sad at the same time,” Ennis recounted. “I had always felt off and sick growing up [and] we always just blamed it on me being run down, or colds. I was always tired.” 

Ennis recounted the day she received the news.

“At the time when my doctor sent me for [an] MRI and received the news [that] it was multiple sclerosis, my brain lit up like a Christmas tree with brain lesions. Brain lesions damage brain tissue,” Ennis said. “I was happy to have finally found out what was going on. My face was numb [and] I was having severe leg pain at the time and was sick.” 

She said she was happy to figure out what was wrong. 

“Then sadly, all I could think of was my daughter and what type of future she would have with a sick mom,” she said.

Ennis talked about how the illness affected her life, saying that it was a “roller coaster of emotions” trying different medications to help her cope. Despite the struggle, she refused to give up.

“I decided I was not going to let this illness stop me,” Ennis said. “I decided to join the gym and just do classes and be around people that would motivate me. I knew I just had to try to keep myself strong and healthy for me and my daughter.”

To stay healthy, Ennis has made excisering and fitness as a core part of her life, describing it as the “medicine” for both her body and mental health. She noted that she wants to do everything that she can while her legs are still working.

“Life was getting hard and I decided to dig deep [so] that I can run a marathon turning my illness and hard times into a feeling of greatness and accomplishment,” Ennis said. “Sure I had many days of pain and tears and wanted to quit, [but] I know deep down I had my daughter watching me.”

With Ennis’ determination allowing her to do Spartans races, marathons, ironman, bike rides, Tour de Cure as part of her fitness achievements, many people would say they could never do what she does. She shared her reply to that sentiment.

“Yes you can,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be as extreme as me, but yes you can get out and walk, yes you can push yourself in a wheelchair, yes you are allowed to have a mental break.”

Likewise, Ennis expressed the importance of mental health to fight against depression and anxiety and to build a positive community around yourself.

“I stepped out of my box,” she said. “Feeling uncomfortable turns into comfort knowing you can mentally do it”

Regardless of winning the title or not, Ennis says she’s still proud of herself and her accomplishments.

“My daughter Reagyn Harris and family, my partner Carl Frankenfield, my gym All Grit Athletics have been my biggest supporters,” she said. “I have made some awesome friends that push me everyday in my CrossFit community! I thank everyone! I am truly blessed just to keep moving!”

To cast a vote for Ennis, go to bit.ly/3NjiuJl.

For more information, go to mshealthandfitness.com.