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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Challenges Are Opportunities

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."- Sir Winston Churchill

Last night Ryan Braun accepted the his MVP award from the Baseball Writers of America and he had some really interesting things to say.  He is facing a 50 game suspension for alleged steriod use.

"Sometimes in life we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure," Braun said. "We have an opportunity to look at those challenges and either view them as obstacles or as opportunities, and I've chosen to view every challenge I've ever faced as an opportunity. And this will be no different.
"I've always believed that a person's character is revealed through the way they deal with those moments of adversity. I've always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I've done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind, and that's why I'm so grateful and humbled to accept this award tonight."

Whether Braun is cleared of charges or is sidelined from the game he loves, I can't help but agree with the way he is facing his challenge.

I think back to my own challenge when I was diagnosed with CMT in 2010.   I recognized the tremendous gift I had because I was able to still run. I feel blessed because my CMT is mild and my sysmptoms have allowed me to stay active. I saw my abilty to run long distance as a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of CMT. I chose to celebrate the fact I can still run and will seize the opportunity to make the most of it. I know every work out and every race brings us one step closer to raising awareness and a cure.  I realize life will bring challenges both good and bad.  I can't choose what happens to me, but I can choose how I react.  My life will be defined by the choices I make and how I choose to walk or in my case run, the path set before me.

John Ortberg said in his book The Me I want to Be;  " Rising to a challenge reveals abilities hidden within you and beyond you, that would have otherwise remained dormant." " When adversity comes you find out what you are really made of."

I see it every day with the awesome athletes on Team CMT. I never expected when I founded this team that I would find 14 other athletes that share this disease. I 've been told by many medical professionals that people with CMT can't run or shouldn't run.  I never expected to run the Boston Marathon, yet in April I will be at the starting line. Team CMT has three other runners with Boston qualifying times and I hope to see them on the starting line next year. 

We have athletes preparing for the Ironman in Florida and National Triathlon Championships. The members of this team are determined not to let their CMT define them and to enjoy the sports they love.  As they battle the effects on CMT on their athletic abilty they point to a hope beyond themselves, because they run, play football,ride, spin and tri for everyone affected by CMT. We know we are so blessed when so many with this disease wear braces to walk and struggle with every day tasks like writing, fastening buttons and other tasks of daily living.

So thanks to the athletes on the Team with CMT; Mary L, Mary S, Kristen, Joyce, Jude, Megan,Richard, Jane, Erika, Barb, Jane, Jess and Michael, and thanks to their family members and friends who support us by being on the team.  All of the members realize CMT may one day take from us the ability to enjoy the sports we love.  Until then we will work to raise awareness of CMT and face our challenges with the same grace and optimism that has marked our efforts since our inception.

So Thanks to the members of Team CMT, you are an inspiration to me and to the entire CMT community!

Chris Wodke
Manager & Founder 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

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see them in their CMTA STAR shirts!