Melissa Wells wrote -
I run for lots of reason. Most days that I hit the ground running I do it simply because I love it. That simple joy might get me out there, but in all those moments I am alone on the road, I have a lot of time to think about the people and things most important to me. Being a healthy role model is one of those things, especially to my children. Hearing Mia ask me if she can come run with me "to be healthy" makes me very proud.
Fellow Hopatcong High School graduates Mike and Melissa (Larsen) Flinchum have a 2.5 year old son named Dylan. With their permission, the following information has been taken directly from their Facebook Foundation page "The Dylan Flinchum "Rock On!" Foundation":
"Shortly after Dylan's second birthday in January, he began to experience difficulty walking. After being referred to several medical specialists it was determined that Dylan had a condition known as Chiari Malformation. Dylan underwent surgery in the spring and was expected to make a full recovery. After several weeks of physical theray, Dylan was not progressing as expected and began to show symptoms that were unrelated to the malformation. A follow up MRI was completed and doctors were shocked to significant changes in Dylan's white brain matter. After getting the initial diagnosis from Cornell, Mike and Melissa traveled to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where it was confirmed that Dylan is suffering from a degenerative disease known as metachromatic leukodystrophy, often referred to as MLD. As they all preare to cope with this horrible disease, everyone is focused on one thing, Dylan. Their goal is to make Dylan as happy and comfortable as possible while bringing as many smiles to his face as they can. The Dylan Flinchum "Rock On!" Foundation has been created to help ease just some of the burden Mike and Melissa are facing so that they can devote all their time and effort on Dylan".
I want to run for Dylan and his family because he/they know firsthand that Dylan doesn’t have the choice to take his own health for granted. Dylan and his family continue to fight this awful and little known disease of MLD. Every dollar that I could raise on behalf of Dylan for the MLD Foundation could mean more research, greater awareness, and a better chance that a cure can be found for MLD. I plan to match dollar for dollar what I raise here for the MLD Foundation as a contribution from my family towards The Dylan Flinchum "Rock On!" Foundation.
Will you consider pledging a monetary donation for my marathon in honor of Dylan? Maybe a dollar for each of the 26 miles I will run? Maybe $10 is all you can afford . . . that is still $10 towards making a difference that could save lives. Even if you can't make a donation today, I thank you for taking the time to read about Dylan and gaining awareness about MLD.
Please visit the below link to learn more about MLD and the MLD Foundation and their mission to raise Compassion, Awareness, Research, and Education (C.A.R.E) for MLD: