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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Boston Marathon Dedication

Signiture I'll carry with me in Boston
"What a blind person needs is not a teacher, but another self."-Helen Keller

Because only 1 in 2500 people have CMT, most people don't know anyone outside their immediate family with CMT.  Sometimes family members don't even talk about CMT or act as if it doesn't exist. So it's special when you find someone that both shares this condition and is an athlete as well.

I've found my other self in the two women and will be dedicating my Boston Marathon run to them.
The first is Joyce Kelly. I wouldn't be running Boston if it wasn't for Joyce. She got through to the Boston Athletic Associaton and found out what I had to do to apply to the Mobility Impaired Division. Joyce edited my application letter, and it was much better once she was finished with it. Joyce wanted me to get accepted to Boston as much as I did and she's been truly excited for me.

When I sent out papers to sign to attach to my running bib, Joyce sent back the signiture you see pictured.  She showed the same excitement when she found our team. Joyce is also a runner and tri-athlete.  Our experiences as athletes with CMT are so similar we swear we were twins seperated at birth.  She makes me laugh when she tells me I'm fast.

When I visited Dallas last year, I contacted Joyce to have lunch. That was not good enough. She insisted I compete in the Denton Sprint Triathlon.  She even arranged for a bike.  Even though I had no plans to do the event, I qualified for the Paratriathlon National Championship in Austin.  My only regret is Joyce will not be in Boston or Austin. 

Injuries and life have kept Joyce from realizing her athletic dreams.  Sista I hope to see you qualify for Boston if I have to come to Dallas and run beside you.  Joyce you may love me ,but the feeling is mutual. Thanks for being my better self.

My other sister self is Allison Moore.  Allison is the President of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation and our Team CMT sponsor.  She has provided much needed financial and moral support for the team.

Allison was training for the New York Marathon when cancer treatments brought on severe and immediate onset of her CMT.  From the moment I first talked with Allison I knew we shared the same goal for raising awareness about CMT through athletic events. Allison is a women of rare vision and energy. After I talked to her on the phone, I flew out east to meet her.  I knew once I met her that it was the right move for Team CMT to join with the HNF.  I felt when I talked with Allison that we'd been best friends for years. 

Allison understands the significance of the Boston Marathon run. She has been with me every step of the way. When I get stressed out she's been there to talk me off the ledge. I know she understands the drive and commitment it takes to run an event like Boston. 

Allison is working hard to be able to run again. I hope the money we raise will bring us just a bit closer to making that happen..  In Boston I run for he, the athletes of Team CMT  and everyone struggling with this conditon.  Allison will be there to cheer me on with several other Team CMT members. Allison I cannot possibly express what your friendship and support has meant. I am looking forward to all the great things we will do together in the future. My part is small. I just run.

Thanks Joyce and Allison, I will be thinking of you throughout the race and remembering the impact and influence you have had on me as an athlete.

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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