Meet Amanda Mensing
Project Manager, Sanford Research
When Amanda Mensing was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 at the age of 26, the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society became an important source of support.
Multiple sclerosis, commonly referred to as MS, is a disease that causes nerve deterioration. Although the symptoms can vary widely from person to person, MS often affects movement and causes arm or leg numbness or weakness, fatigue, dizziness and blurred vision.
“I think that’s the hardest thing for some people to understand about MS, is that a lot of it is so invisible,” Amanda says. “Some people may have issues with walking, but with me, you can’t tell. So I could have a bad day with my hands or a day where I’m very fatigued and you wouldn’t know because the symptoms are so internal.”
Amanda’s MS diagnosis came after her left arm wasn’t functioning as well as her right.
She often experiences pain and a tingling sensation in her arms and legs, along with fatigue.
“Some days are worse than others, but those things have always been my main symptoms that don’t really ever go away,” she explains.
Even though others may not have understood what she was going through after her diagnosis, those at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society did.
Today, Amanda is working to bring the chapter’s presence back to Sioux Falls after it became inactive through the creation of an MS community council.
“We’re trying to get involved with newly diagnosed patients so they can have the same support system that I had 12 years ago,” she says. “Whether that’s having someone to talk to and bounce their experiences off of or to get advice from someone who’s had MS for longer.”
Since her journey with MS began, Amanda has learned how to tune in to her health needs. Living with the disease has also taken her outside of her comfort zone and has inspired her to pursue new interests.
“I now do things just to show myself that I can,” she says. “And I don’t take the fact that I can still walk or feel my hands or feet for granted because I know I could lose that at any point.”
As a lifelong wrestling fan, when Midwest All Pro Wrestling opened in Sioux Falls five years ago, Amanda became a familiar face in the crowd. Then, she started training and discovered what it was like to be in the ring – not as a wrestler, but as a referee.
“I really liked how it put me in a different frame of mind and I stuck with it,” she says. “I’m still doing it today and it’s absolutely one of my favorite things to do.”
As wrestlers try to take control of their opponents, Amanda watches every motion as she quickly moves around the ring with intense focus and concentration, ensuring the match is fair to all wrestlers and results in a legal pin or submission.
“You have to know that anything can happen at any point and it’s going to change the entire aspect of the match,” she says.
Knowing that she can make decisions fairly and quickly in the ring has also impacted Amanda’s roles outside of professional wrestling as a project manager at Sanford Research and as a mom to twin boys.
“Being able to be that authority figure in the ring has given me a lot of confidence,” she says. “There are so many skills in the ring that you can take out of the ring too.”
Amanda is also the first to point out that there aren’t many female professional wrestling referees. She’s the only one at Midwest All Pro Wrestling, although she’s started to see more women join professional wrestling companies in other states.
“I want to try and be that role model for little girls who come to shows so they can say, ‘If she can do that, so can I,’” she says.