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Andrea Peet, Ramblin’ Rose Raleigh Participant: Living Life to the Fullest with ALS

Andrea and Julie after Andrea finished the City of Oaks Marathon in November 2015

One More Day

by Andrea Peet

I assumed Ramblin’ Rose Chapel Hill in 2014 would be my last triathlon ever. That’s because I’d just received confirmation of my diagnosis with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which has a 2-5 year life expectancy. It’s a cruel neurological disease which takes away a person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, move any muscle, and breathe…and that’s when they die. Look at me: I had done half Ironman the year before at the age of 32, but a year later, I was walking with a cane.

Even with all the things ALS already had taken – my normal voice, my dreams of becoming a mom, growing old with my husband – the loss of triathlon still stung. I had only discovered it a couple of years before, but I loved the challenge, the sweaty exhaustion after a hard workout. So I was grateful to get a taste of racing again, even for one more day.

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Andrea and Julie at Ramblin’ Rose Chapel Hill – October 2014

At packet pickup, I said to the race director, Amy Charney, “feel free to pack up everything. I’ll finish eventually.” But the Endurance team didn’t do that. Although my best friend Julie and I came in last by almost an hour, the race organizers held open the finish line for us and the Tri It ladies led everyone in a dance party while they waited. As I trekked slowly towards the finish line, with Julie and my husband David supporting each elbow, everyone clapped and cheered. I wrote afterwards that “people say I inspired them, but it is nothing compared to what reverberated through me from all sides.  It was the very best of humanity.” I will cherish the memory always.

Fast forward two years and I’m getting ready to race Ramblin’ Rose Raleigh this weekend…say what?! No one is more surprised than me that I am still strong enough to do this. One more day that I can be out there with the sun on my face, celebrating what my body can do with a joyous, grateful heart. I am thankful that Ramblin’ Rose is so inclusive of disabled athletes. It’s sure not the case everywhere.

This year, I’m racing with Team Drea. When I figured my triathlon days were over, I encouraged my friends and family to do a race that represented a challenge to them and raise money for ALS. Team Drea has now grown to 100 members and has donated more than $100,000 to ALS research!

Team Drea shirtSo if you see lime green shirts out on the course, give an extra cheer for Team Drea – for many of them, it’s their first triathlon. I’m so excited for them and thrilled to make something positive come out of the horrific monster that is ALS.

Want to help? Donate to ALS.net, the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech dedicated 100% to finding a cure or effective treatment for ALS. Follow Andrea’s journey at www.teamdrea.blogspot.com