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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Team CMT Member has Boston Dreams

Alyson O'Connor of Astoria Oregon

"Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something."-unknown

New CMT member Alyson is doing her part to raise awareness of CMT.  O'Connor 31 of Astoria Oregon was diagnosed with CMT at age 10. It is a condition she shares with her brother and dad.

She is mom to two kids Brook 7 and Jake 5 that so far thankfully have shown no CMT symptoms.   Alyson divides her time between being a full time mom and a fitness instructor.

One of the fun things about starting this team is hearing the stories of each athlete. We all have such similar experiences.  Just like most of us Alyson  has seen subtle changes over the years, but has managed to stay active.  She has poor balance, trips lots, rolls her ankles, has cold hands and feet and some numbness.  Her feet burn when she runs or walks more than a few miles. Still she feels lucky because her symptoms are so mild.

Two years ago she and her husband Jim decided to run a half marathon for her birthday. She had good and bad days during her training. Getting though the training was tough. Her legs hurt during and after training and her feet always felt hot/stingy.  During her half marathon at mile 8 her feet really started to bother her. She had to stop and rock on her heels it hurt so much. She was disappointed it took her 3 hours to do 13 miles.  She has kept at it, finishing many 5 k and 10 K races. She has even done a sprint triathlon. This runner also has dreams of running the Boston Marathon and has asked me about the qualification process. I am sure we will see her in Boston soon.

Alyson wanted to join Team CMT because no one seems to know about CMT. Well Alyson you will fit right in with our mission of raising awareness.  Her athletic friends look at her and wonder why she isn't faster. She wants to help them understand the affect of CMT on her life and others living with this condition. Alyson is also looking forward to having a fundraising page and using some of her events to raise money for Team CMT.
Her next two races  will be the Lowell Oregon 5K at the end of July and the Great Columbia Crossing a 10 K in her hometown of Astoria.   The Lowell race is put on by the fire department is near and dear to her heart because she is a volunteer fire fighter.  The funds raised will benefit the National Fallen Fire Fighter Association. Thank you Alyson for your service to your community.

After these races she will start training for her first marathon. You go Alyson. All of us on Team CMT are proud of your marathon dreams and determination. Welcome to the team!

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.

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