The marathon was months ago. My running shoes are now collecting dust and climbing a few flights of stairs leaves me winded. Yet, I recently received news that transported me right back to marathon day – news so exciting that I felt like throwing my arms up in the air and doing a few big fist-pumps, as if I was crossing the finish-line all over again.
I did not run the marathon to prove anything to myself or others athletically. Although I certainly exceeded my own expectations, the timed “result” wasn’t my goal.
I ran the marathon with a very particular purpose – to raise funds for important cutting-edge narcolepsy research. This was my finish line and with the help of your generous contributions and support, I’m proud to report – we recently crossed this finish-line together!
The week before the marathon, I wrote on this blog about Dr. Mignot at Stanford University and his hopes to participate in an International Immunochip Project (link to post here). The goal of this Immunochip project is to compare and contrast the genetic architecture of over 20 autoimmune disease, taking advantage of results obtained in individual diseases.
Dr. Mignot believes that participating in this project may establish narcolepsy as an autoimmune disorder and allow us to learn about the genes predisposing people to narcolepsy and other autoimmune diseases.
Although this research is vital to progressing our understanding of narcolepsy, Dr. Mignot needed funding. Unable to secure funding through NIH’s grant program, Dr. Mignot turned to Wake Up Narcolepsy and other private funding resources in hopes of moving forward with this research. Dr. Mignot needed $250,000 to fully participate in the Immunochip project (to send a total of 4,167 narcolepsy samples to be included in the project). Wake Up Narcolepsy committed to doing whatever it could to help in his efforts.
This summer, Wake Up Narcolepsy contributed $25,000 towards Dr. Mignot’s efforts. This donation combined with the support from a few other private sources allowed for narcolepsy to begin participation in the project. Although more funds are needed to fully participate, the private funds raised were enough to allow narcolepsy samples to be included at a minimum level in the Immunochip project!
Wake Up Narcolepsy’s contribution allowed for about 625 narcolepsy samples to be included in these studies. This is something we should all be very proud of together.
If running a marathon taught me anything, it is patience and persistence. I wasn’t the fastest marathon runner. I watched almost everyone and their grandpa pass me along the way – yet slow and steady, I reached the finish line.
There is still much work to be done in the area of narcolepsy advocacy and scientific research, but helping to fund this essential research is an important mile-stone worth celebration. So for now, I say we throw up our arms and celebrate (fist-pumps strongly encouraged). And then tomorrow, I suggest we tie up our shoes and get moving again.
The Boston Marathon 2011 is not that far off now and it is my deepest hope that Wake Up Narcolepsy will be able to secure bib numbers again this year so that we may continue to run in search for a cure for narcolepsy.
Thank you again for all your support! I will update this blog with any results from the research.
Want to know more about the Immunochip Project? Want to know how you can help? Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.