If you've been around this blog for a year or so, you may remember my post about joining the Running for Rare Diseases 2015 Team. I am so excited to share that I am going to be a part of this incredible organization again this year!
The Running for Rare Diseases team is not unlike other charity organizations that you may have seen on race courses, except for one key detail. The R4R team brings together a runner and patient to form a partnership to raise awareness for rare diseases. The runners get the chance not to just fund raise and race for a cause, but also to get to know a patient from the community they are representing. The runners may not have known a rare disease patient prior to joining the team, so the cause is no longer just an idea, but becomes personal as they get to know their patient partner. As patients, this gives us the chance to speak out and raise awareness about rare diseases and the desperate need for diagnosis and funding in a way that we could not otherwise do on our own.
The motto of the R4R team is "Alone we are rare, together we are strong." Alone I am just a patient with mast cell disease, together with the R4R team, I am one of many raising awareness for rare diseases and fundraising for better diagnosis and treatment options for others in the same situation.
That being said, I'd like to introduce my R4R runner for 2016! Meet Sarah Batchelder! She lives in the Boston area with her husband and is training for the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016. She has run 12 marathons (many for other charity organizations) and is going for lucky number 13 with the R4R team.
Here is some Q and A to help you get to know Sarah (her answers are in blue below):
When did you get into running?
I started running when I was a freshman in high school, many many years ago! My friend recruited me to the cross country team and I ended up running all throughout high school. I was a hurdler and high jumper.
How many races (5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, etc.) have you run?
I haven't kept track of all my runs but the marathons are a different story given the preparation and fundraising involved. I have run 12 marathons - 8 have been to raise awareness and funds for different charities.
What is your favorite race that you have done and why?
The Boston Marathon is my all-time favorite. It's really the best day to be in Boston. The crowds and sideline support is simply amazing. I'm excited thinking about it!
What do you do for a career?
I'm a registered nurse and work with a team of MS nurse educators who educate and support MS patients and caregivers on MS treatments.
Do you have any pets?
No, but we are looking for a rescue dog right now and hope to have a canine companion soon.
What do you like to do when you are not running or working?
I'd say doing something outside with my husband, Tim. The season determines the activity - we love to x-c ski, cycle, hike, and kayak. I also love to bake, read, and garden. We also enjoy traveling and seeing new places and learning about new cultures.
How did you get involved with the Running for Rare Diseases team?
I learned about the Running for Rare Disease team at work. I wanted to get involved in a worthwhile cause and give back and also meet new people.
Why do you want to be involved in the rare disease community?
The awesome and unique aspect of our team is that we are paired with a partner. This marathon will be the first time that I am running for someone, Kylene, and I am beyond thrilled to have this partnership.
Sarah and I are excited to have been paired together and be a part of the R4R 2016 Team. I will be posting training updates from Sarah every so often, and of course, a race report after Boston, so stay tuned!