Inspired by my daughter, I am running the Columbus Marathon to raise money for the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would be running a marathon. I have always believed you have to be a bit crazy to do such a thing. And, now that I have been training for four months, I still believe that! But when inspiration comes in the form of a cute spunky five year old that cannot walk so well, you can get around the crazy pretty easy and find the inner strength to tackle 26.2 miles.
My daughter Brianna was born with a rare genetic condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) – a disease that causes leg spasticity and muscle weakness. This makes it very difficult for her to walk since she is always up on her toes with her knees almost touching. Ultimately, the disease can progress to a point that it completely robs a person of their ability to walk.
Brianna didn’t start walking until the age of three and a half. And while she has made great strides, she still struggles to walk even short distances. But this little girl has some serious determination and a great attitude. She falls down a lot, but she gets right back up and keeps on trying!
I hope that one day she won’t have to work so hard to do something that should be so simple. I believe a treatment can be found because the state of research is moving forward at a rapid pace and looks very promising. And not only Brianna and others with HSP, but everyone with a similar upper motor neuron condition -- ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), MS, Charcot Marie Tooth, Huntington's, and many others -- stands to benefit from the work of researchers around the globe.
The money raised here goes to fund research grants to understand and ultimately find a cure for HSP.
I run because I can. And I run with the hope that one day Brianna will be running alongside me.