Battling more than the waves

Ascencio, left, gets ready for a practice run at the Bay City River Roar Friday.

The waves are starting to rock over at the Bay City River Roar.

With the race-heats picking up Saturday drivers are jocking for position, but for one driver, he's battling more than the waves and the competition.

Driving a boat at over 100-mph is difficult enough, but could you imagine doing so with multiple sclerosis?

That's the case for Ruben Ascencio from Beaumont, Texas.

"I was diagnosed with that disease back in 2004. it was a big blow, but some daily injection therapy, better exercise - with some support of friends and family, and this sport alone it's been able to help me battle," said Ascencio.

Perhaps the biggest help came from Ruben's wife reena, who helped convince her husband that his life was not over.

"She said 'listen, you have to figure out something to do and have some fun, because we're not going to live like this for the next 30 years.' and holy smokes, was she right."

That something turned out to be tearing up the waves at over a 120-mph. The sport has become theraputic for Ascencio, but it also takes it's toll as well.

"After this weekend, when we do what we do out here in the water with these boats, I might feel a little down and out," says Ascencio. "the body might be a little beat up, but you take a knee, relax and get back to fight the next day."

The sport taxes the body of Ascencio, but it also supplies Ruben with a little something extra.

"If there is one drug that is incredible it's adrenaline. I wish they could bottle that stuff, because once you get strapped in to one of these things, and you're going deck-to-deck with some of the best guys in the world, some of those symptoms go away. At least temporarily," Ascencio said.

Despite his disease, Ruben has had some success on the water, finishing 2nd in the American Power Boat Association Formula-2 Circuit in 201. But it's not the accolades that keep Ascencio coming back to the water, it's the platform.

"It helps me get the message out that, if you do get stuck with this disease, or somebody you know and love gets affected, there's hope - it's not all over."