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Monday, April 13, 2015

A Positive Influence

Team CMT at Bike New York

Example is not the main thing in influencing others….it is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer
I recently started reading a book by John C. Maxwell called "The Daily Reader".  He has a small inspirational piece for each day of the year.
Recently he quoted the statistic that sociologists say even an introverted person will influence ten thousand other people during their lifetime.  That's good news for me since I'm a classic introvert.
Every day we are being influenced by and influencing others.  All of both follow and lead.
When you think about it each of has an enormous potential to make a difference.  Every day you have to decide if you will be a positive influence on those around your or a negative one.
When I was diagnosed with CMT, I made the decision from day one not to let my CMT stand in the way of my living a full life. I realized what a gift it was to have a diagnosis. I realized I was lucky to still be so active.
I chose to focus on what ability I had left and not on what I'd lost to CMT.  I decided to use my ability to run to raise awareness of CMT.  I wanted to show others that while we may have CMT it does not have us.
I also founded Team CMT because I know what power there is in numbers. I am so proud to have 160 other members on this team in 32 states and 6 countries.  We have many members affected by CMT that run, walk, swim and bike to raise awareness.  When I see pictures of our members from events, their smiles inspire me. They influence me to keep going.  They make me proud to be a part of this team.
I've seen the effect this team has had on the CMT community.  We've raised thousands for CMT research, but more importantly we've changed the conversation in the CMT community.  I used to see discussion on Facebook about exercise being harmful to those with CMT. Now I see conversations about the exercise people are doing or questions about the type of exercise that can be done.  
Not long ago, people kept there CMT a secret. I hope Team CMT members example have given courage to others to be open about their CMT. We have nothing to be ashamed about.  We did nothing to get CMT. It is just one of the many genetic gifts we got from our parents.
We even have our imitators, both the CMTA and the MDA have started sports teams. So our influence has reached to all three organizations serving CMT patients.
I hope the entire CMT community will continue to benefit from the positive experience of Team CMT. I am so proud of all of them.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon.  In 2012 she finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.  

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 160 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

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.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

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