Pedro Sottomayor: “Sclerosis was a shock”

Pedro Sottomayor is one of the ‘veterans’ of the EDGA circuit, he came to play several times in Italy, other times I went to play in Portugal, other times we met in other countries. Always smiling, always accompanied by his wife Margarida, who is also a cheerful and friendly person.

They are a very good couple, with whom I spent very good times both on the pitch and after the match, speaking a little English, a little Portuguese and a little Italian. That’s what happens in EDGA races, and that’s the beauty of these races.

I will tell you his story. At 28, Pedro Sottomayor has seen his life turned upside down. One afternoon, in a doctor’s office, he receives a diagnosis that he never wanted to receive. Pedro was already married to Margarida, had two young children Ana and João, had started a promising career in real estate and played golf.

Pedro Sottomayor, history

He started with something wrong with his right leg, he had fallen a few times. Pedro remembers a person who looked at him derisively, taking him for a drunk. Pedro got up and continued on his way without thinking about it.

It was during a bicycle race with his brother-in-law and some friends that Pedro realized that it could be serious: “I was with my brother-in-law on a bicycle, and everyone passed me so easily… at first I thought it was the bike’s fault.

After the race I went to the store saying the bike had mechanical issues. But it wasn’t the bike that didn’t perform well. It was me” Pedro decided to go see a doctor. Multiple sclerosis affects 2.3 million people worldwide.

“When they gave me the diagnosis, they said – You have a disease that has no cure and you have to live with it for the rest of your life. – It was a shock,” Pedro recounts. after that i felt a great flush of heat, my skin was so hot i could cook an egg in it.

When I got home, I tried to breathe slowly to calm myself down, because I felt like exploding. Then the will to live won out, and Pedro started looking to the future again: “I thought, if I can’t do anything to change the situation, I have to live with it and try to live better”

“What I wanted was another ten years of quality life, to be able to educate my children and put my life in order.” Then he smiled, “Now that it’s gone, I’ll ask for another twenty years, and then I’ll ask for another few years”

Pedro built his life after his diagnosis: he built with his family a beautiful house adapted to his condition, a fulfilling professional life, he has good friends, an active social life and, of course, sport. Initially, it was para-dressage, which Pedro considers a form of therapy.

“It’s very good for your upper body because the movement you do when you’re rolling is like the movement of walking, it’s good for the muscles.” But there were more than the physical benefits, as he soon discovered.

When Pedro was on horseback, he felt “normal” and no one realized that he was disabled: “I have friends who own horses. I remember meeting one of them, I had known him for a long time. We started talking on the backs of our horses and finally when he saw my wheelchair he was amazed, he couldn’t believe it was mine. It was a good feeling”.

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