I'm running the 2018 Boston Marathon for Team Challenge ALS in support of the ALS Association!
For those of you who don't know about ALS, it's a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which eventually leads to muscle paralysis. There is no known cure and people with ALS live an average of 2-5 years after diagnosis.
I've been involved with the ALS Association for about 10 years now after my grandmother, Mary Verone ("Bema" as we called her) passed away from the disease in 2007. Back then not many people knew what ALS was, let alone what it did to the body. It attacks everyone differently, but for my grandmother it started in her throat making it difficult for her to speak, eat or swallow. She had a feeding tube for majority of her illness and even used a machine that would speak for her.
Although awareness of the ALS Association and advancements in research have come a long way since 2007, we're far from finished.
Team Challenge ALS is just one of the ways the Association is making a difference in the lives of people living with the disease. It's an endurance program that challenges people to accomplish physical & fundraising achievements for those who cannot. With all money raised supporting research and care service programs, I'm proud to be part of the Boston Marathon running team helping to create a world without ALS.
A few years ago, I started running as a way to challenge myself and push my body to see what it was capable of. I started slow with 5 and 10Ks and was training for my first Half when I injured my knee. Things weren't looking good for my running goals after that, especially since doctors told me I wouldn't be able to run more than 3 miles. I was devastated, but determined. After months of physical therapy I came back better than ever and finished the Syracuse Half Marathon in the worst conditions possible - there was a blizzard that morning in classic 'Cuse fashion! Later that year I ended up back in physical therapy for a back injury and was struggling to return to my normal running routine. It was a long road to recovery, but I was able to bounce back and run the Empire State Half Marathon this past October.
Now, I'm setting my sights on the full 26.2. I already know this race is going to push me and challenge me in ways I never thought possible. But my grandmother was always one of my biggest supporters and was constantly telling me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to...this one's for you, Bema!
The ALS Association has truly captured a piece of my heart and I am so grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those suffering from this disease. I can't wait to cross that finish line on April 16th.
Check out my blog to get updates on my training progress, info on upcoming fundraising events, and to learn even more about my story with ALS.
Thank you in advance for all the love and support!