BENEFITING: The ALS Association Georgia Chapter
EVENT DATE: Nov 15, 2011
I know this is a bit of a read, but please read this all the way through.
Almost exactly 1 year ago (3/10), an old childhood friend of mine & I reconnected after 20 years. Dan and I went to elementary school together and always seemed to be finding ourselves getting into some kind of trouble together. Whether we were hacking down the neighbors bushes with hockey sticks, or trying to break into the soda machine on the golf course near Dan's house...it didn't matter, trouble always found us. It was pretty cool that after a 20 year hiatus, the two of us picked up like we never missed a beat.
As fate would have it, we both had gotten into running and we were both training to run our first marathons. At the time we discussed how great it would be to run marathons together in the future. After we both separately completed our marathons in the spring of last year, we decided we were going to run the Publix GA Marathon in 2011 together.
Fast forward to January 2011 - I get an email from Dan telling me he was having some health issues & may not be ready in time for the marathon on 3/20/11. Figuring he was dealing with the typical runners' injuries every marathoner endures, I called him to see what was going on & maybe give him a little bit of a pick-me-up. When he answered the phone, I knew immediately that something was wrong. There was something wrong with his voice. I couldn't put a finger on it, but I knew it was something that was probably pretty serious. He proceded to tell me that something started happening to his voice last fall, but otherwise he was in good health. He had already seen countless doctors and been through a battery of tests. The 2 main diagnoses the doctors were considering were ADEM and MS, with the doctors leaning more towards ADEM. Over the course of the next 6 weeks, the appointments with doctors and specialists continued. We stayed in touch regularly, getting updates from the doctors and making contingency plans for the race.
2/18/11 - The text I'll never forget - "I have Lou Gehrig's disease." Like everyone else, I immediately googled it to see what Dan was up against. What stuck in my mind most was that 5,600 people a year in the US are diagnosed with the disease. How could my friend have been one of those 5,600?
I have since learned more about the disease than I ever imagined I would have in my entire life. What I have learned from my friend and his family has been even more amazing. I've watched as man in his early 30's has vowed to press on and live his life to the fullest. I've watched as his family has rallied around him with an overwhelming amount of love and support. It has been nothing short of amazing!!!
I've decided that I'm going to support my friend and honor the fight he is up against by using every race I run this year to raise funds for the ALS Association in Atlanta. Even though we never got to "officially" run the marathon together, Dan will be with me every step of every race I run. Together we will bring more attention to a disease that still isn't completely understood.
I would appreciate if you can donate to this project in any amount. I know times are tight for many, so if you can't donate yourself, please forward the link to this project to anyone you know who may be able to help. Thanks in advance!!! Jon
Dan - I'm proud of you and keep fighting the good fight my friend!!!!
I will repost this link a couple weeks before each event I participate in.
Races Scheduled as of 3/15/11
5/15/11 - Fedex Pittsburgh Marathon - Full Marathon
10/31/11 - Marine Corp Marathon - Full Marathon
Additional Info about Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS).