Paddling more than 22 miles with just your arms from Catalina Island to San Pedro may sound like torture, but Tim Salmon says that's exactly what he sets out to achieve.
A bit of torture and one big accomplishment.
"I fought some previous beasts and demons where MS tried to defeat me and I dug really deep. That was my goal to fight those demons and to fight back and defeat MS"
His marathon paddling session in the open ocean is part of his effort to raise awareness and money for the debilitating disease that impacts nearly 1 million Americans, including him.
"Doctor said first sentence, 'What are your symptoms?' I told him tingling, numbness. He goes, 'Might be MS.'" said Salmon.
Salmon says his first phone call after the diagnosis was to the local chapter of the National M.S. Society, which helps fund research for a cure while at the same time assisting people living with the disease.
"Honestly to this day, I'll say it every time, the girl who answered the phone was like some sort of sweet angel," said Salmon who immediately got involved in the society's fundraising efforts through walks and bike rides.
Eighteen years after his diagnosis, MS has robbed Salmon of many things he loves, including a dream job as a state park ranger and his ability to surf. That is why he decided to step up his fundraising efforts in a brand new way with prone paddling.
"Due to the MS, my body moved slow, my leg moved slow, and it's heavy, so it got tough surfing and that's how I got into the prone paddling," said Salmon.
Prone paddling, which is basically using a paddle board with just your arms, became the perfect outlet for Salmon, who hasn't experienced any loss of upper body strength.
It took him 5 1/2 hours to make the open ocean trek and he drew strength from all of the people suffering from MS.
"There are folks who literally have pain all day and suffer for MS. So I wanted to put myself in a bad place crossing that channel, suffering for those with MS. That was kind of my motto, fighting and suffering for those with MS and I'm raising funds for those people with MS," said Salmon.
He said the sense of accomplishment the best feeling of his life.
October is MS awareness month and NBC 7 is a longtime sponsor of the National MS Society.
If you'd like to support Tim's efforts to end MS, click here.