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Reality show contestant says MS helped her survive wilderness

Nicole Apellan and her fellow contestants on the History Channel reality series 'Alone'.

Now on its second season, History Channel’s hit reality series “Alone” finds 10 people marooned separately in the wilderness of Vancouver Island carrying only what they can fit in a small backpack. Alone in the harsh, unforgiving terrain, their sole mission is to simply stay alive as long as they can.

Each of the 10 contestants must hunt for food, build shelter, and fend off predators while enduring extreme isolation and psychological distress. The last remaining contestant wins a $500,000 cash prize.

In the show’s first season, 10 men took part in what is dubbed as “the ultimate test of human will.” Season two, however, mixes things up by having seven male and three female competitors.

One of those women is 45-year-old Nicole Apelian, a former game warden with the U.S. Peace Corps who later worked as field biologist in Botswana. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest and relies on the local plants as part of her healthy lifestyle.

In an interview with InterAksyon, Nicole said she never considered the other two contestants on the show, Mary Kate Green and Tracy Wilson, as rivals. As a matter of fact, she never looked at the other male contestants as competition either.

“I actually saw everybody as allies on the show. It’s very strange. Most shows like this you would think that all 10 of us would be really competitive against one another but in fact that was not the case,” she revealed.

“We spent time together doing camera training and such before we were dropped alone on the island so we really bonded as a cast. We supported each other and I felt like I was in cahoots with the two women. They felt like allies to me,” she said.

“When I was out on the island by myself, I had no idea what was happening with the other cast members. But I will always would think of them daily and hope that they were each having their own good personal journey because that’s what it really was for each of us,” she added.

Asked if she felt anything remotely close to what she experienced in “Alone,” Nicole surprisingly said yes, she had experienced something similar.

“I lived in a tent in a bush in Africa for a long period of time. Occasionally I would be off by myself six hours from camp in the middle of nowhere and my truck would break down. It was the days before radios, before cellphones and satellite phones and so I’d really be by myself in the middle of nowhere and in a situation where I had to fix my truck, perhaps change a tire next to a pride of lions,” she recalled.

“Maybe a lot of us who have spent a lot of time outdoors would occasionally have that feeling of being lost in the woods and figuring out how to be level headed about it and getting back to camp. I’ve spent a lot of time outside so I used a lot of the skills in the past.

“But it’s never been as intense as this show where you are dropped in the middle of nowhere with certain items and you really have to start from scratch, from making your shelter to building a fire and finding your food. This is a whole different experience. This is much more extreme.”

By certain items, Nicole said her backpack contained items like a full tang curved carbon steel knife, a Ferro rod, a 16-inch stainless steel pan, 200 yards of 30 lbs. of test fishing line, 100 yards of 80 lbs. test fishing lines and hooks, a folding saw, a 23-inch splitting axe, a -30° rated sleeping bag, a gill net and emergency rations.

Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Nicole said dealing with such a debilitating ailment even made it easier for her to handle the even more extreme challenges that came her way.

“When I was diagnosed, I was very ill for a number of years. I really had to turn my life around. Nature then became one of the things that saved me as I switched my lifestyle to one that is deeply connected with nature and the plants around me,” she shared.

“In this particular show, I was allowed to be in nature, not in a 9 to 5 job. It really almost worked with my MS in a way. I didn’t feel that it was too much of a hindrance because if I needed to nap, there was no one telling me what to do. I really was alone and the hours were my own.”

Nicole added that having MS allowed her to focus on living in the present moment.

“It really made me wake up and approach my life in the perspective of the now in order to create health and balance, really approaching life allows us to live more simply. I felt like it was a bit of a blessing and almost prepared me in a way for being out there by myself.”

“Alone” Season 2 airs every Thursday at 9PM on History. History is available on SKYCable Channel 67, Cable Link Channel 43, Dream Satellite Channel 30, Destiny Cable Channel 57 and Cignal Channel 125.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by INTERAKSYON
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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