I am a competitive Ironman triathlete who is currently at risk for Huntington's Disease. Basically, because of this, I got into triathlons at age 26, after years of smoking. When I started, I was middle of the pack, or worse. I stuck with it from then on (I am 34, going to be 35 in August).
I'm training for my fourth Ironman (CDA) and feeling great. This may be my last Ironman.
Who am I?
I am a competitive Ironman triathlete who is currently at-risk for Huntington's Disease. I live with my lovely wife and near my family who are constant supporters. By day I am a professional, by morning and night, an athlete.
What is my story?
I was born to a loving mother and father and grew up in small town America. I had a normal childhood until age 11, when my father was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. For the next 9 years I watched my father suffer from this insidious disease, all the while knowing that I had a 50% chance of inheriting the same disease. I might be watching my own demise. Knowing that my mother and father would want me to get as much out of life as possible, I gathered as much education and life experiences as I could. However, like most young individuals in my situation, I also chose to try and out-run HD. Eight years ago, I came to the realization that I could not out-run HD and would have to turn and fight it, with the same strength my father did.
There is no cure for HD. However, exercise and good nutrition can help me squeeze precious minutes out of my life that I may not have otherwise. Triathlon affords me the training I need to be as fit as I can possibly be. Ironman is very similar to the fight against HD. It is long and arduous in which both physical and emotional pain can wreak havoc. Only the strong can survive.
There are many reasons why I have not as yet chosen to be tested such as job and insurance discrimination. For more discussion, please read my story.
Unfortunately, people in my situation can suffer job and insurance discrimination and therefore many of us cannot even speak out for ourselves. Also, my father and mother have always taught me to not let HD define me. So, I wish to not have HD define who I am, or how I am perceived as an athlete.