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Run For A Reason: Deanna's Story

by Jordan Olander
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Meet Deanna, a charity runner for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. When Deanna was looking to run a half-marathon last year, she came across the Run for a Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America and knew instantly that she had to run as a member of the Run To Cure CF team. Last year, Deanna ran her first ever half-marathon and believes that her best triumph in regards to the 2017 race was finishing it!

Deanna runs in honor of her 11-year-old cousin Aubrie, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 people in the United States. In people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. 

Aubrie takes numerous medications and treatments to manage her condition - including 48 pills every day, several inhalers and nebulizer medications. Aubrie also completes what the family calls “shakey vest” treatments four times a day that last 30 minutes each. The inCourage Comfort Vest helps to loosen the mucus that builds up in her lungs.

Deanna suggests that others spend time with someone who has cystic fibrosis to fully understand what they go through every day just to stay healthy. Because she can see that it is not an easy thing for her cousin to go through, Deanna thinks of Aubrie as her superhero.

To help spread awareness for cystic fibrosis, Deanna ran the half-marathon in a replica version of Aubrie’s “shakey vest.” While many runners dress up in unique outfits, Deanna took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase one of many cystic fibrosis treatments. It was an eye-opening experience for Deanna and a wonderful way for her to show support for her cousin.

Running as a part of the Run to Cure CF team has been an amazing experience for Deanna. The team provides running coaches, group training runs and plans, and fundraising support throughout the year. Even more, Run to Cure CF team members are there to uplift each other along the way. For example, when Deanna was struggling mentally around the 10-mile mark in the Southside in 2017, she found another team member to talk with and keep her motivated for the remaining distance. 

Last year, Deanna raised just over $1,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She is running again this year as she has promised Aubrie that she will keep running until a cure is found. There have been advances in the treatments for cystic fibrosis, but Deanna won’t stop until there is a cure. She is excited for the day when CF stands for Cure Found.

To check out Deanna’s fundraising page visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/runtocurecf2018/fundraiser/deannaulrich

For more information about the Run for a Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America or to register as a charity runner, visit www.thepittsburghmarathon.com/charities.

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