Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
David Kuhn may be 61 years old and blind, but he aspires
to run around the United States in an effort to raise money to
fight cystic fibrosis.
His motivation comes from his 12-year-old granddaughter
Kylie, who suffers from the debilitating disease.
Kuhn has the credentials to tackle his 11,000-mile odyssey
on foot, having completed two Chicago marathons, the California
International marathon, and three Boston marathons, including
last month, which he finished in 6 hours and 15 minutes with
the help of a sighted runner to whom he was connected by a foot-long
tether tied around their thumbs.
I met him at his South Fourth Street home in DeKalb before
he departed this week to Seattle to begin running Thursday along
with sighted companions from the running groups in the Pacific
Northwest. He said his blindness is caused by a progressive condition
called posterior staphyloma, which was triggered years ago from
an auto accident caused by a drunken driver. He can see light,
but not shapes or obstacles. At his home I also met his trek
organizer Renee Kopulos, a Ph.D candidate at Northern Illinois
University whom he calls his mission control.
Kopulos will not be able to start the race in Seattle with
him, but she is handling most of the logistics, setting up his
webpage, www.itsallicando.wordpress.com, Twitter (@AllICanDoIsRun)
and Facebook (Its All I Can Do) accounts to promote fundraising
and keep people up to date on his progress.
They figure it will take at least 14 months to complete
the route, which goes from Seattle to Bangor, Maine, then zigzags
through the eastern seaboard states to Jacksonville, Florida,
spending the winter months going through the south to San Diego,
then up the West Coast back to the starting point. Meanwhile,
his wife, Chris Myroth, who works at NIUs Founders Library,
will keep the home fires burning.
David Kuhn shown running in last years Boston Marathon
with the same sighted runner as this year, Joslynn Lee, formerly
of Boston and now residing in Minnesota. (Provided photo)
He also mentioned a stop along the way where he will take
time out to train for a Half Ironman triathlon, which includes
a 56-mile bike ride, 1.2-mile swim and then a 13.1-mile run,
sometime in June.
Kuhn has faith he will find running companions all around the
country, plus volunteers willing to drive behind him to provide
food, water and protection from vehicular traffic.
I would like to find someone willing to loan me a
motor home so I can save the cost of lodging, he said.
He also hopes to find homes where he can stay along the route.
He has wanted to pursue this fundraising effort for years
as he watched his granddaughters condition worsen. She
is now being home schooled by her parents in Springfield, Missouri.
Everything finally came together this year with the
help of Renee and some other runners I have come to know around
the country, he said. I am willing to invest my own
savings to make it happen, but have hopes of raising up to $500,000
for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
To make a donation to the foundation, people can go to
his webpage and click on Donate Now, then follow the Cystic Fibrosis
Foundation website link. Those who do not use the internet can
send a check to the foundation at CFF Greater Chicago Chapter,
Attn: Amy Kozyra, 150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1550, Chicago,
IL 60601, and note Kuhns name on the check .
To help Kuhn personally with his expenses, mail a check
made out to David Kuhn, 938 Prospect St., DeKalb, IL 60115. He
begins his run Thursday at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle, near
the offices of the CFF, near the Pacific Ocean where Kuhn intends
to dip his foot, then later do the same in the Atlantic Ocean.