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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meet Team CMT Members the Cooks and Katie Ayala

"It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop." Lao-Tzu

Welcome our newest members to Team CMT, Richard Cook, Ruth Cook and their trainer Katie Ayala.
Their son Will has also joined, but is not pictured. For the Cook family running and raising awareness for CMT is a family affair.

Katie is owner of Off-da-Couch training and not only Ruth and Richard's trainer, but their good friend as well. Katie is very excited about helping Team CMT spread awarness and is working on a possible bike ride and 5K next year. Katie has an aunt that lives in Milwaukee , so I hope to meet Katie the next time she visits.

Richard was recently featured in the national CMTA Newsletter and I contacted him to ask him to join Team CMT.  Richard joins me as the other Team CMT member with this disease to have completed a marathon.  Some studies have shown it takes a person with CMT twice as much enrgy to do a task. Imagine running a marathon with that challenge. Richard has faced the challenge of running a long distance race several times. Many athletes on the team were told not to exercise. Many doctors still tell their patients not to exercise too hard. Running a marathon would be outside the advise of most neurologists. Runners like Richard and the other athletes on the Team with CMT are proving the doctors wrong.

Richard and several family members including his mother Mildred and his brother Mike have CMT.  Richard was diagnosed when he was in 4th grade and had his first foot surgery in 8th grade. He could not particpate in sports in high school because he could not run fast enough.  That did not stop him from being active by playing sports with his friends or playing in a church volleyball and softball league.

Richard never thought about running long distance because as he said in the story in CMTA article "these legs don't run".  In 2010 he signed up for the Marine Corp Half Marathon.  He was afraid he would not make the 18 min mile cut off time so he started trainig with Katie. His son Will and wife Ruth joined him in the run. Richard finished in 3:06. After that he trained and completed the Richmond Marathon last Novemeber in  6:01.   He will be running the Richmond Marathon on November 12th.

Richard and Ruth have a son Will who is 17 and volunteers with the Chancellor Fire Department. He hopes one day to become a professional fire fighter. He was busy working at the fire station when this photo was taken.So far dispite having a 50/50 chance of  getting CMT, he is showing no symptoms.Will has completed two Marine Corp half marathons and the Sun Trust Richmond Half Marathon. Looks like there are a lot of heros in this family.

Richard and Ruth have will celebrate their 20th anniversary next June.  Ruth is 50 years old and is an office manager for Mid Atlantic Construction Group in Fredericks, Virginia.  She is also involved in the childrens ministry at her church. She shared with them this week about Richard's CMT and pointed them to our web site to help educate them on CMT. Ruth has also completed two Marine Corp Half Marathons, the Sun Trust Half marathon and a number of local 5K's. She says she is not the fastest runner, but taking up running has helped her to feel much better. She plans to make her next 50 years better physically than the last 50.

One of the great things about starting Team CMT is the inspiring stories I hear from athletes with CMT like Richard.  They mirror my story and inspire me to keep running and raising awareness.  Even better I will be meeting Ruth and Richard at the end of October when I run the Marine Corp Marathon. They live only 45 miles from Washington D.C. Looking forward to meeting this inpiring family. Welcome to Team CMT Cook family.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Running, triathlons, impaired athlete, paratriathlon, USAT, running and CMT

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