By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Entering the Portales High track, Tim Borland was greeted with cheers and whistles as he made the first of 11 laps to complete his 26.2-mile run as part of the A-T Cure Tour.
Since Sept. 3, Borland has been traveling to designated cities across the U.S. and running a marathon in an effort to raise money and awareness for the disease. Portales was the No. 17 stop on the tour, he said.
Ataxia Telangiectasia, or A-T, is a rare genetic disease that appears in early childhood and is often misdiagnosed. The disease is a combination of symptoms from Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and Cancer, according to information from the A-T Children’s Project.
“It’s something God put on my heart,” Borland said his attempt to run 63 marathons in two months.
Borland said after seeing what a family with a child with A-T endures, he felt he found a way to make a difference.
“It definitely grips your heart when you see a family who has a child with the disease,” Borland said.
Borland finished the last few miles of his marathon Wednesday with Portales resident Garrett Dodson,16, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was six-and-a-half.
Garrett said he had fun.
“I was really excited about the community coming out,” said Pat Dodson, Garrett’s mom.
Borland and Garrett where joined on the track by several people attending the event.
Conrad Van Hierdan, was who lost his son to the disease three years ago, said he traveled from Canada to participate.
“I want to be anywhere I can to help them and support them,” Van Hierdan said. “I want to be there when they find a cure.”
Van Hierdan plans to participate in a few more stops along the tour, he said.
According to event organizers, more than $2,400 was raised during the event alone. Based on pledges, organizers expected that total to rise to more than $4,000.
“It means a lot to us that the community wants to help raise awareness and money for research. I feel blessed to live in such a community,” Pat Dodson said.