In January I was at a dinner for an old friend’s 40th birthday. He was in my fraternity in college and lives a few blocks from me. Also at the table was another guy from college and from the fraternity. To be honest, we weren’t good friends in college, but get along very well now. During the dinner it came up that I was going to be running my first marathon in March. He congratulated me, and then asked if I wanted to run another one, or maybe a ½, with him in San Francisco in July. I was hesitating, then he told me why he was running.
Sean was also in our fraternity. He and his wife have two kids about the same age as mine. Their younger daughter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at her one-year check-up. Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a debilitating genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow randomly throughout the body on the nerve sheaths. NF occurs in more than one in 3,000 births – more than Cystic Fibrosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Huntington’s Disease combined.
That first year, she underwent more than 20 MRIs all under general anesthesia to try and identify all of the tumors that could be growing.
When I was asked to run, I was scheduled to run a half marathon in the first half of March and my first full marathon at the end of that month. I didn’t even know if I could run a full marathon ( I did, it wasn’t pretty but I did it). I committed to running the ½ Marathon with the NF Endurance Team in San Francisco on July 31st. I’ll be running along with my wife, and my brothers from college.
There is no cure yet for neurofibromatosis, but if enough people listen to their friends, and run when they’re asked, we’ll find one.
The NF Endurance Team raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Join us by donating at http://www.active.com/donate/nfsanfran2011/JMorgan314
And maybe next year, run along with us. If you can’t donate right now, just do me a favor. Next time someone asks you to run with them, say yes, they probably have a good reason for asking you.