PPMD Note: Mary Connolly recently joined PPMD as Vice President of Development. She comes to us from Episcopal Social Services, Gilda’s Club, and the United Way.

Last month I had the pleasure of assisting at two very inspirational events. On August 4, I was a race official for the 17th Annual River to Sea Relay (a 92-mile relay event from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean). On August 11, I volunteered at an aid station on the marathon course for the Ironman U.S. Championships in New York City (of which 95% took place in Bergen County, New Jersey! – yes, we have a small identity crisis here). These experiences, along with my new affiliation with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, have really inspired me to get moving again.

I am a veteran of three marathons, over a dozen half-marathons, and countless races of other distances; but at this time last year I was in pain. Every step was painful, sitting was painful, and standing was painful. An MRI confirmed two herniated disks (gardening, not running, injuries!). I tried a variety of remedies and physical therapy. Finally in January, I had a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection – and a few more months of PT. I started swimming and got up to 1600 meters two times a week. In late March, I got out for my first run – a mile! Luckily my MD and DPT were both runners and in agreement that the benefits of my running far outweighed the risk. I just had to continue to build my posterior core muscles and increase my mileage very gradually. I have followed doctor’s orders. I consider myself pretty lucky. Yes, I have a chronic issue that I will have to monitor and manage the rest of my life. But I CAN RUN

Since taking on the position of Vice President of Development here at PPMD, I have learned a lot about Duchenne. I have learned how important our work is to those affected by this disease – and how my job as a fundraiser is key to expanding critical research and advocacy efforts so necessary in the fight to end Duchenne. I’m glad that I have the professional expertise to make a difference. It’s so much more than that though. I enjoyed meeting so many of you at the conference and speaking to board members over these past few weeks and reading personal stories; getting familiar with all the real people that need us to end Duchene. And with that I can’t help be moved to do more. As I got to that point, I thought: I CAN RUN.

How lucky I am that I can run. And I will. While I’m not quite ready to run a 92-mile relay or IM Triathlon or even just a full marathon, I have signed up to be a member of PPMD's Run for Our Sons team for the Chevron Houston Half-Marathon on January 13, 2013. I’m running because I can.

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