Over the last 4 years I have chased a singular dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I chased that dream with several conditions that stated my shoes were not meant for running. Diagnosed over a decade ago with autoimmune arthritis my diagnosis evolved into a combination of 3 conditions (psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, and UCTD) with Ehlers Danlos a genetic collagen disorder. Despite this I ran, and I ran fast. Knowing my time to achieve my goal would likely be limited, I spent 2015-2017 laser focused chasing it. I had the best medical care during this time, and they understood this was my dream of dreams. Together we battled multiple aggressive attacks on my hips and back. I came back time and time again when I was told it was impossible to do so. What drove me was that dream of Boston and the friends I made through Racing for a Cure. I ran through pain, and mobility impairment. In return running gave me peace with my situation as my conditions continued to advance. When I was tired or in pain my friends who ran for Racing for a Cure were there to listen and encourage, and I did the same for them.
In August 2017 that crazy streak of “I can and I will” came crashing to the ground when a diagnosis of dysautonomia came. Dysautonomia is the failure of the autonomic nerves to regulate baseline body functions (blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, etc). It was no longer just “ill advised” for me to continue running distance, it was deemed a threat to my health. The most perplexing part of this diagnosis was the fact that my marathon running that was advancing this condition, also gave me a cardiac capacity that protected me from being completely debilitated from the neurocardiac problems I was experiencing. My team told me to hold that anyway I could by exercising recumbent. They also told me though I may run an occasional 5k, my toe should never touch the line of another half or full marathon. My risks for a black out and continued damage to my nerves were too high for me to continue. I looked at my doctors and once more said watch me: with the help of my friends I purchased a handcycle in the fall of 2017. In February 2018 I returned to the half marathon that in 2017 had been my final race on foot. I returned in a handcycle that freed me from pain, ataxia, a passive mobility impairment, and a cardiac wall caused by dysautonomia that no training could surpass.
I am angry, sad, and determined. I am a firm believer to live a big life no matter your odds. I’m a firm believer I can and I will get that dream. In October 2018 at the Marine Corps Marathon I am going for it! I’m going to put the pedal to the metal because I can’t pound my feet on the ground and I will chase a sub 2:30 marathon qualifier for Boston on the handcycle. After I complete my BQ I’m doing what I love best I’m going to Disney to Race with some of my friends from Racing for a Cure at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! I can’t wait to celebrate overcoming disability to accomplish my dream with some of the most determined and inspiring people I know!
Bad Bones for Boston was my campaign to run myself into Boston before it was too late, it is now my campaign to get there despite my circumstances. I want my dream to help others through fundraising, and inspiring people to live the best life. The Racing for a Cure team has been there for me through my roughest moments. I made friends with many who lived with similar circumstances and they ran through pain loving every mile. Those friends helped me to come back time and time again and focus on that Boston Dream. Racing for a Cure benefits the Arthritis National Research Foundation 92 cent from every dollar goes towards research. That research helps millions of people with arthritis live better lives. Although I am a firm believer that the only disability is a bad attitude and the refusal to adapt, the reality is that arthritis is the leading cause of disability. We believed my arthritis would be what would end my running, and perhaps it was because we do not know what the cause of my dysautonomia is yet. What I do know is that the countless comebacks I had against what was deemed impossible wouldn’t have happened without the research they funded. I never would have ran at all if research wasn’t funded. I would not have known my options to adapt had it not been the friends I made through Racing for a Cure who had to make that transition decision before I did. I am forever grateful for the research, encouragement, and friendships that Racing for a Cure has brought me. All of that was done through monetary gifts that funded more than just a charity it funded a support group for those who wanted to live a big life in the face of adversity. Your tax deductible gift to the Arthritis National Research Foundation helps people with arthritis reach their dreams. Please help me give this chance to others as I chase my own dream this marathon season.