Sept. 15, 2014 | Volume XXII, Issue 5

Law student to run 50 miles for MD research

Published: November 13th, 2000

Category: News

First year law student Whalen Kuller, 35, will run 50 miles Dec. 3, to raise funds for muscular dystrophy research. Whalen and his wife, Allison, a RN at Shands, are seeking pledges, with the taxdeductible donations going directly to the Parent Project for Muscular Dystrophy Research, Inc., a non-profit group of parents and families of boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD). The Whalens became involved with the Parent Project after their now 4-year-old son was diagnosed with DMD in 1998. Since then, they have organized various local fundraising and DMD awareness activities in support of the Project. Whalen will be racing in the Adventurous Concepts Ultra Run, a 50-mile trail run at Santos, just south of Ocala, on highway 441. When Whalen approached Adventurous Concepts with the idea of participating in the race as a fundraiser, owner Mike Arnspiger was enthusiastic. Arnspiger waived the race entry fee, and personally made the first pledge. Adventurous Concepts, based in South Florida, is the premier organizer of off-road and adventure races in the state. DMD is a genetic disorder, affecting one in every 3,500 boys worldwide, that causes progressive muscle wasting due to a deletion of the dystrophin gene that prevents production of the dystrophin protein necessary for proper muscle development. Boys with DMD are usually wheelchairbound by their early teens, and die, usually due to respiratory failure, by their early 20s. Boys with BMD have an altered dystrophin gene that allows a minimal amount of dystrophin production. Its disease progression tends to be at a slower rate, but with the same final outcome.There is currently no effective treatment or cure. The Parent Project was started in 1994, to raise funds to support research for treatments and a cure for DMD and BMD. The Project raised more than $1.8 million last year alone. Those wishing to pledge support can contact Whalen or Allison at 378.9197, wkuller@ufl.edu. To find out more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the Parent Project, call the Parent Project at 1.800.714.KIDS, or visit their Web site at www.parentdmd.org. More information about Adventurous Concepts’ events can be found on their Web site, www.adventurousconcepts.com.

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