Four years ago, I ran the NYC Marathon on behalf of the PKD Foundation. It would be my first, but not my last. Since then, I have run 10 marathons and will reach my goal of 12 when I run both Chicago and NYC on behalf of the Foundation this Fall. What an amazing journey it has been so far. I have experienced great joy in running, and have raised over $50,000 to date for this amazing cause.
As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease at the age of 25, less than a year after my Mom found out she had the disease. As the years have passed, my family has experieced many ups and downs. My Mom had to endure two brain surgeries from aneurysms, a kidney transplant and battled terminal cancer. She finally lost her battle on November 4, 2014, just two days after I was to run last year's NYC Marathon. Through it all, her faith was unwavering. It is from her that I get the courage fight this disease. It is from her that I have learned what real strength looks like. She was unbelievably positive for her family, and I hope in the years to come, I can do the same for mine.
In April of this year, we found out after a lacrosse injury, that our 13 year old son Gregory also has PKD. It came as such a shock to all of us. He has been so brave and optimistic about the whole situation. When I said to him that I was sorry I gave him this disease, he in turn said, "You gave me life, you gave me everything". That pretty much sums up the amazing human being he is. He remains as positive as I do that a treatment and/or cure is not far away.
I will continue to run for PKD as long as I am physically able. I will run because I am hopeful. I will run to honor my Mom. I will run for my children minimize the effects the disease will have on their lives. I will run for every PKD patient and their families. I will run to END PKD once and for all!