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Man With Muscular Dystrophy Finishes Chicago Marathon
What seemed impossible was made possible by marathon runner, Maickel Melamed, when he finished the Bank of America Chicago Marathon early this Monday morning. According to NBC Chicago and The Huffington Post, it took the Venezuelan native almost seventeen hours since he first began the race. The marathon included more than 39,000 fellow runners and the thirty-eight year old finished within sixteen hours and forty-six minutes, making him one of the very last participants to cross the finish line. The victory occurred at about one thirty A.M. with one-hundred people to greet him. What made this feat almost impossible was the fact that the man has muscular dystrophy.
Muscular dystrophy is a disease that targets the body’s muscles; it weakens the musculoskeletal system and hinders movement. Symptoms of the disease include poor balance, drooping eyelids, the inability to walk, muscle spasms, a limited range of movement, and even difficulty in breathing. The disease is an inherited condition and mostly affects males due to the mutated gene on the X chromosome. Females can also experience severe symptoms. There is no known cure for the disease, but research has been able to help more with various methods of therapy.
There are nine major types of muscular dystrophy, and children diagnosed with the disease often die before they grow out of infancy. The disorders can appear in the heart, nervous system, eyes and brain. The muscles affected can be found in the face, shoulders, or pelvis. There can also be intellectual, behavioral, speech and vision impairment. Severe forms of the disease usually occur in early childhood. The Muscular Dystrophy Association holds a nationwide telethon every Labor Day to raise money for research. The telethon is hosted by actor/comedian Jerry Lewis.
The race was twenty-six point two miles, beginning with 40,230 people and 39,115 people finishing it. Melamed is a two year veteran of the race, completing marathons in Berlin and New York City. With a record of two hours, Kenyan Dennis Kimetto won the marathon, but Melamed had this to say about his triumphant win across the finish line, “My message is: If you dream it, make it happen. Your life is the most beautiful thing that could happen to you. Make the best with that, and share the best of that. We come here to share. We come here to make a team. We come here to construct the best world that the children — our children — deserve.” With his win, the runner took steps forward to advance a cause that will allow tens of thousands of sufferers to benefit from the research that will enable therapies and potentially one day, a possible cure.