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The Trinity Health Seaway Run is a spectacular event in and of itself bringing in thousands to enjoy the backdrop of the Muskegon Shoreline and the friendly people who help welcome them for the race, some before or after fun or maybe just a day in town for a quick run to see what time they can beat.  In 2023 the numbers are still climbing for runners who are signing up and ready to go.  Volunteers are in place, but there is always room for a few more, and we were lucky enough to be invited to tell you the incredible story of one runner....and her team that will leave you speechless.  


Kate Egeler reached out to me to see if maybe there was interest in meeting her Aunt Sue Buckley. For transparency, Kate is also the niece of our neighbor, so it wasn't a real hard reach. Kate told me of what was coming for her race this year at the Trinity Health Seaway Run and wondered if maybe we'd help. If your Aunt is good, I'm good.  This is where things start to get really inspiring, really quick.

Sue Buckley was diagnosed with ALS in 2021.  ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. The exact cause of the disease is still not known. A small number of cases are inherited.  ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in an arm or leg, trouble swallowing or slurred speech. Eventually ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure for this fatal disease.

Sue is a participant in more than one Trinity Health Seaway Run in the past and post diagnosis, that ability to run has gotten a little more difficult to put it mildly.  Sue never even took up the sport until she was in her 50's and found running to be a great outlet as she shifted into the second stage of life and enjoyed the experience with Kate, her sister Barb and more.  Well, Sue's crew has found a way to get her in the race again and they will be helping her get to the finish line in a mobility chair in the 5K coming up this Saturday at Heritage Landing.  It's been practiced and tested to see how her support runners will do and with the exception of the hill by Cole's Bakery, everyone feels pretty good.  Sue and crew joke a little about the idea of a wheeled device going a little faster than a runner down a hill.

Sue chose to talk about this experience to come so others can be aware of ALS and how this disease with no know cure comes on and how it effects people and the life they hope to lead.  It's a debilitating and incurable affliction, however like so many other problems humans face, the work to learn, fight and end ALS continues on so many levels.  ALS often starts in the hands, feet, arms or legs. Then it spreads to other parts of the body.  Muscles get weaker as more nerve cells die. This eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing.  There's generally no pain in the early stages of ALS. Pain also is not common in the later stages. ALS doesn't usually affect bladder control. It also usually doesn't affect the senses, including the ability to taste, smell, touch and hear.  

If you would like to be a part of the team to help cheer Sue along, simply come down to the Trinity Health Seaway Run.  If you would LIKE TO HELP BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION, you can click there to learn more about the National ALS Registry.  

We're thankful to Sue for her courage to share.  Thankful to Kate for her willingness to go above. Thankful to a great community who supports one and all.  This is one simple example of how Muskegon takes care of it's own, be it in large groups, or just down to one person...who has the courage to lead by example for all of us.  Our thanks to the Mayo Clinic for some of the ALS content in this article. 

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