NEW YORK (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge woman ran more than 26 miles Sunday, Nov. 3 in the New York City Marathon to raise awareness about a rare disease.
Alycia Patty, 29, of Baton Rouge, made the trip up to Manhattan to compete with over 70,000 people on behalf of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA).
Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
According to HDSA, it deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities, usually during their prime working years and has no cure.
Before the race started, Patty raised $9,780 through crowdsourcing to fund research for the disease. Patty says she ran and wants to continue to raise awareness about the disease because it’s so rare.
There are about 30,000 Americans that are symptomatic for Huntington’s disease and over 200,000 are at-risk of inheriting the disease, according to HDSA.
Every child of a parent with the disease has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene.
Patty says because of the rarity of Huntington’s disease, federal funds are not dedicated to funding research.
The disease hits very close to home for Patty. Her mother-in-law, Sherrie Manzelli, died from Huntington’s disease in 2016 during the first year of marriage with her husband.
Patty says it’s the bravery of her husband and his family that inspired her to run in the marathon to raise awareness about Huntington’s disease.
She finished the 26.2-mile marathon in six hours.
“It’s nothing compared to what people who have the disease suffer on a daily basis,” Patty said when asked about what it was like to run the race. “It was emotional, challenging, exciting, painful, but inspiring in the same way," she explained. “I just kept trying to finish.”
Patty had plenty of encouragement from the onlookers on the streets of New York City.
“The crowd was a big help. People kept cheering my name, or my family’s name that was printed on my shirt," Patty said. “It was a great experience.”
Patty prepared for the race by running around Baton Rouge’s Garden District, City Park golf course, and the Perkins area.
Even though the marathon is over, Patty is still taking donations on behalf of HDSA. Click here to donate.
For more information about Huntington’s disease click here.
According to its website, the New York City Marathon raised $40 million for various charities in 2018.