BENEFITING: SPONDYLITIS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
EVENT DATE: Sep 16, 2015
Hi, and thanks for visiting my donor page. The photo is of me showing off my medal after completing the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon last year - my ninth year participating in and completing this event, held every Labor Day weekend since 2006. I am one of less than 450 people that have completed all nine half marathons to date, and have been designated as "Legacy" runners.
Over the course of those nine years, I have often run for and raised funds for different charities. I've run as part of the Aids Marathon Training Program, in honor of friends I've lost to AIDS, which raised funds for Aids Project Los Angeles. I've also run and raised money for the American Cancer Society, in honor of friends and family that I've lost to cancer. Last year, I decided to run and raise money for Spondylitis Association of America, a charity that has played a big part in my life for the last three plus years.
If you participated in my fundraiser last year, then you are already aware that I was diagnosed in early 2012 with Ankylosing Spondylitis - a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints and organs can become involved. About 1 in every 200 people have AS, which amounts to over 1.6 million people in the United States alone.
Despite the large number of Americans with this disease, it is not well known, and has traditionally not gotten much attention in the medical community. Many rheumatologists are still learning about the disease and how to diagnose and treat it. And there has not been enough research into the causes of the disease, and treatments for it, until recently.
What progress that has been made, in educating doctors and the public, and in funding studies and research related to AS and other diseases in the Spondylitis family, has largely been the result of the work of the Spondylitis Association of America.
I'm one of the lucky ones - my rheumatologist diagnosed me and started treatment before there was significant damage to my spine, and before any joint fusing had taken place. While this disease has had a high impact on my life in other ways, I can still run, and do other high impact exercise, which most of my friends with AS cannot.
And all of this is why, this year, as I participate in my 10th Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend, I will once again run on behalf of SAA, so that more rheumatologists can be educated, and more people can be diagnosed and treated sooner, and so that research can continue in looking for the cause of this disease, better treatments for it, and maybe, eventually, a way to prevent or cure AS once and for all.
Last year, I placed 2236 out of 15,985 runners that completed the event, set a new personal best time of less than 10 minutes per mile, and through the generosity of everyone that supported me, raised over $1,300. This year, I hope to finish even faster, with a new personal best time, AND raise at least $1,500 for SAA.
On my behalf, and on the behalf of my friends and everyone else with AS and other forms of spondylitis, I am asking you to contribute, and help make this happen.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.