A recently published news article interviews one man with Huntington’s Disease over in America who has recently picked up a new hobby – running.
“I’m not supposed to be even walking.” – Jim Christus, 70 y/o retiree on his running career which started at age 40.
Jim Christus knows he sometimes looks strange when he runs, veering right and left a bit but always making it to the finish line.
“We tease him,” his wife and biggest fan, Barb, says, “that he’s running more than a 5K because he’s not running in a straight line.”
Jim has Huntington’s disease, a neurological disorder that runs in families, but wasn’t discovered until he and his sister were diagnosed eight years ago. Their father was the carrier, they learned, though never showed signs that he was affected.
This is a genetic illness that’s not messing around. It’s sometimes described as combining the symptoms of three heavy hitters, Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s.
A progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities. About 30,000 Americans are symptomatic. Folk legend Woody Guthrie died of Huntington’s.
Jim’s sister, Mary, has it worse and needs a wheelchair to get around. Jim is more fortunate and he plans to keep racing the wind and the disease as long as he can. He logs a few training miles at least twice a week in the couple’s Pewaukee subdivision.
“When you start running, it’s like everything is off your mind,” Jim told me. “I’m so lucky with what I’ve got here. I’m not supposed to be even walking.”
What an amazing person, if you’d like to read the full article – you can read it here.