Coping with a life threatening disease is no easy path to run.
"I would wish that no family had to go through this," said Heidi Smith, a runner in the 5k portion of Carrie's Race.
Close to 100 people laced up their shoes on Sunday in South Burlington for Carrie's Run.
For Heidi Smith and her husband Frank, ALS has become an unwelcome guest in their home.
"It's a devastating illness. You go from a really active, vibrant person," explained Smith. "He's still vibrant but he can no longer walk, he can barely talk, he can't eat and it's just devastating to watch your loved one go through something like this."
Frank was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, on March 31, 2010. The disease causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body from deterioration of upper and lower motor neurons. And living in a raised ranch became a challenge for Frank to get around. The family learned about the Carrie Premsagar Foundation, based in Vermont, that is dedicated to meeting the needs of families dealing with life threatening diseases like ALS.
"Well, we love Carrie," Smith said.
The foundation was started back in 2009 after Carrie Premsagar, a South Burlington mother of two, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her appendix. "It's called pseudomyxoma peritonei," Carrie Premsagar said.
Premsagar needed to receive surgical treatments in Washington D.C., making traveling and living costs difficult to pay. That's when her friends decided to raise money, by having Vermont communities run in her honor. "Running to me has always been this really positive thing in my life so my friends when I was sick had the first Carrie's Run," Premsagar said.
Runners big and small came out to benefit families with relatives suffering life threatening illnesses and need money to get through financial obstacles.
"When families are dealing with life threatening disease they have all these costs that are sort of hidden that insurance doesn't cover," Premsagar said.
And with the help of the foundation benefit events, like Carrie's Race, Frank Smith now has an elevator in his home, allowing him to be around for events like these, watching his two sons and wife running on his behalf and the support of the foundation that supported them.
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