Saturday, August 17 marks the 15th Annual Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford. And for 15 years, the Peterson family has been raising money and awareness for Duchenne. Mitchell Peterson, 17 years old, has been the inspiration behind this event that continues to grow in numbers and momentum. He refuses to be defined by Duchenne and as he begins his senior year of high school, is already planning for a career after college. The Peterson family teaches us about persistence and dedication, and for that we celebrate Mitchell Peterson as our Feature Voice for August!
Hey Mitchell! Congratulations on an amazing 15 years of success with Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford and thank you for all that you and your family have done for this community. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 17 years old, a senior, and attend Rockford High School. I live in Rockford, Michigan.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of school? What’s your favorite subject in school? What do you plan on studying?
Outside of school I like to go to movies, watch sports, play video games, and go outside. My favorite subject is math and I plan to pursue an actuarial career.
What does it mean to have Duchenne? What do you tell people who ask you about Duchenne?
It just means it's something that I have. It doesn't define me. I'm a teenager with Duchenne, not a Duchenne teenager. I tell people it is something I was born with and it is a genetic disorder that makes me weaker.
You're exactly right. It doesn't have to define you. Tell us about this great event you have coming up on Saturday. How did it start?
Mitchell's Run is a 5K race/walk. It helps raise money for PPMD. It was started in 1999 by my mom and dad when they found out I had Duchenne. I broke my leg and when I was getting my cast off, my mom described some of my inabilities with walking and running. The doctor immediately put me on the floor and told me to get up. I think he knew right then by witnessing the Gowers trait that I had Duchenne.
What's the crowd like at Mitchell's Run?
The crowd is amazing! Over 1,500 people start and we always play the Genesis Song "It Don't Matter to Me" to start the race. When I hear that is sends goose bumps through me.
Wow...I have chills now! How does it make you feel to see your family and community rally together to put on this annual event?
Makes me feel that they care about me and want to do anything to help me get better. It gives me hope that someday they might find a cure for Duchenne.
That's the hope that keeps us all going I think. Finally, if you could have dinner with any three people, real or pretend, living or deceased, who would you choose and why?
Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush. They are all part of my favorite football team and would like to ask them questions on how they will do this year and show me their plays. I want to get inside their head!
I'm sure a lot of their opponents would like that info too! Thanks for talking to us Mitchell and thank you again for continuing the great tradition that is Mitchell's Run!
To learn more about Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford, click here.