A North Carolina woman isn't letting her fatal diagnosis of ALS stop her from racing in marathons and triathlons, while inspiring many others to raise money through races. Our Caroline Blair goes In Depth with Andrea Lytle Peet who's helping raise thousands of dollars for much needed research through her the foundation named in her honor.
RALEIGH -- At the age of 33, Andrea Lytle Peet was as active as ever, completing five triathlons including a 70.3 mile Ironman. But after the race she started tripping over her toes and was shortly after diagnosed with ALS in May of 2014. Just eight months later, her speech was slurred and she was forced to use a cane to prevent from falling.
But the fatal diagnosis didn't stop this amazing woman from continuing to compete. Peet has finished marathons and triathlons, inspiring others to take on races as a way to raise money for research. And in just two years, more than 150 people have taken the “Team Drea Challenge” and raised $131,000.
To keep her legacy alive, Andrea and her husband, David, have launched the Team Drea Foundation to leverage broader support and inspire more people to live bravely, love joyfully, and appreciate the gift of life. She hopes the non-profit will encourage her friends and family to take on a race that represented a challenge to them and use it as an opportunity to raise money for ALS research.
But if that wasn't enough, this year Andrea took on an even bigger challenge, completing 12 races in honor of different people with ALS who have been inspirational to her. And on Nov. 6, Andrea will complete her 12th race at the City of Oaks marathon, continuing to fight to the finish line.
If you would like to learn more about Andrea's journey, or to join the Team Drea Foundation, just visit her website. She encourages all members to raise $250 or more to help go toward funding for a much needed cure. Her team of more than 30 are set to race in the upcoming marathon and will leave the finish line for different races from a 10K to the full marathon, together as a team.
Facts about ALS:
· Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive neurological disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When motor neurons that connect nerves and muscles die, people lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. Without stimulation, muscles become weak and atrophy. Most people with ALS become totally paralyzed as they lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and breathe.
· Every 90 minutes, someone with ALS dies and another person is diagnosed.
· The average age of diagnosis is 55; however, cases of ALS also appear in people in their 20s and 30s.
· Military veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. Athletes also seem to be more susceptible. No one is sure why.
· The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years. Twenty percent live five years or more; 10 percent live more than 10 years.
· The only approved drug for ALS (riluzole), only extends life expectancy by 2-3 months.
· The cost of caring for a person with ALS can be more than $200,000 per year.
If you would like to view more of Andrea's inspiring races, visit her YouTube page.