July 18, 2011

Matt Brooks and the 11.12.13 Challenge: Duke Athletes Doing Kickass Awesome Things in Real Life

Last week, I received a really cool email from a really great guy. My good friend, Matt Brooks, a former Duke football player, is in the midst of the 11.12.13 Challenge to support his friend’s mother, who currently suffers from a unique and degenerative joint disease. Matt was the Blue Devils’ kicker from 2001 to 2004, and we often had the same crazy political science professors while we were in school. Since leaving the Gothic Wonderland, Matt has taken his talents to New York, where he practices law and runs half-marathons to save lives.

See, after the mother of Matt’s friend Kathy had knee replacement surgery, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of Psoriatic Arthritis; this disease leads to intense pain, immobility, the erosion of joints, the need for joint replacement surgery, and at times, a shortened life span. Kathy’s mom was diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease and has suffered tremendously. She is taking experimental medications to combat its symptoms and progression, but unfortunately, the pain and immobilization is both chronic and permanent. In the future, she will have to undergo further joint replacement surgeries, as doctors search for a cure to this curious and agonizing condition.
In such an impressive and admirable manner, Kathy created the 11.12.13 Challenge to not only support her mother, but all victims of Psoriatic Arthritis. The 11.12.13 Challenge stands for 2011, 12 races, 13.1 miles each – meaning, one half-marathon for every month of 2011. Her goal is to raise $13,100, and her father has pledged to match the donation, thus raising the total to $26,200. This money will be donated to the National Psoriasis Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to research and fight this horrible disease. Kathy has already raised $7,578, while Matt has personally run in seven races so far, with his eighth scheduled for August 2011. He wrote:
From the time I have spent around her mother, she is a caring mom who loves her daughters as much as she can. You can tell that every day is a struggle for her, but whenever her girls are around she does everything she can to get up and spend time with them, make them breakfast and be around them...even if that means that she will be laid up in bed for 3-4 days after they leave (which often happens). Obviously seeing her mother fight this disease on a day to day basis has been tough on Kathy as it would be for any child. I know that when I look back on my life and the important events I have experienced along the way, my parents have been at every single one they could possibly attend and if I thought they could no longer be a part of my memories because of a painful disease, I am not sure how I would react.
So Matt took it upon himself to do everything possible to bring awareness and support to this cause. He started a blog, Brooks Runs The Challenge, which chronicles his races and Challenge-related work. On the right side of his website is a link to the charity’s donation page, which I humbly ask you all to please check out. Any gift that you can make would be very much appreciated. If that isn’t an option, maybe you would rather run a half-marathon to support the cause; everyone and anyone is welcome. In fact, I think I am going to run one myself in October. Please realize that Matt did not ask me to write this post; I simply think what he is doing is incredible and deserves to be recognized. I really hope that we can help out him and Kathy, and more importantly, all of the people suffering from Psoriatic Arthritis throughout the United States.

While we already knew that the world’s best athletes hail from Duke University, it is really refreshing (and so impressive) to see those athletes giving back to the community in a way that affects much more than a scoreboard. A huge gold star to Matt Brooks and everything he is doing for Psoriatic Arthritis. It truly makes me proud to be a Blue Devil.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things that CDTF does well: explain a situation, a cause, ask for thought, attention, help if possible....while doing no preaching or pushing. Thanks for telling us about this.

    - Manahattan Man