April 19, 2016
For those of you who don't know me already, here's a smattering about myself. I'm a proud New Jerseyan who's learned to call Pittsburgh "home". I study Spanish so I can be a pediatrician working with Spanish-speaking patients. I laugh (often too loudly) at the small things in life. I sing constantly. I sleep like it's my job. And I almost always have a smile on my face.
That being said, there's one aspect of my life that takes a little bit of the shine out of each smile: it's called Myotonic Dystrophy, or DM2. This is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that eats away at your voluntary muscle tissue, while also eroding executive functioning capabilities (decision making skills). However, DM2 isn't just these two parts; these are the salient features. The disease is variable, so each person who has DM2 receives a slightly different set of symptoms and experiences the progression of the disease at a different rate. In addition to the disease progressing differently from person to person, it progresses at different rates within one person's lifetime. In other words, this is not an easy disease to diagnose or treat.
In 2008, my dad was diagnosed with this disease. Back then, I didn't know much about it. I wasn't aware what the exact set of symptoms would be or how it would progress. I really didn't know how much it would change what I thought it meant to watch my parents grow older. But I grew older, the disease progressed, and I found out. And it also scares me to think that I have 50% chance of having this disease as well.
Fortunately, there has been some amazing research going towards treating the disease, and eventually finding a cure. But they're not there yet; there is still so much to go. So I am fundraising to ensure that research does continue and progress is made; I am fundraising in the hopes that one day there might be a cure and people like my dad, my siblings, and myself might go through the rest of our lives without the stress and worry of this unfortunate drawing of the cards.
Each time I put on my running clothes, each time I tie my shoes, each time I log yet another mile, I run with a purpose. I run to, in a very literal sense, fight off this disease as long as I can by being active. But also, with the help of fundraisers like this, I run to try to stop the disease in its tracks and try to make it a condition of the past.
If you donate at least $500, you will get your name (and if you're a company, your logo) on the back of the shirt I wear during the race.
If you donate at least $1,000, you will receive your own copy of the shirt I wear during the race!