Twenty years ago, I lost my father, Vance Norton, Jr., to complications due to ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. To honor his memory, I am running the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise money for the UMass ALS Champion Fund, which drives awareness and funding for the ALS breakthroughs happening at UMass Medical School.
I look forward to getting to the starting line, but I need your help to raise the $6,000 I have pledged to this great cause.
In technical terms, ALS is "is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed." (source: alsa.org)
In my own terms, ALS is heart-breaking disease where you witness your loved one slowly lose control of their body. At first, I watched my father desperately try to maintain control of his legs by using a walker, and then he had no choice but to move to a wheelchair, and eventually wound up in a nursing home.
While my father's mind could not tell his muscles to move, it never lost its ability to think and observe all that was going on around him. Imagine how hard it must be to put on a brave face while your body gives up on you. My father tried, but towards the end, it was obvious what a struggle he was going through not only physically, but mentally.
Twenty years later and there is still no cure for this terrible disease. My hope is to raise money to help find a cure to prevent this kind of pain and suffering not only for the victims, but for their loved ones as well.
Please contribute today and help me accomplish this goal.
A little about me: I am a writer/editor and a seasoned triathlete (I have a blog at www.tri-moms.com). I ran my first marathon last November and live in Hopkinton, MA, where they start the Boston Marathon. To be able to participate in the marathon instead of simply watching is a huge honor.
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