According to a story from ESPN, there were times when Lynn Rogers wasn’t sure if she was going to be able walk, much less run, ever again, but she wound up finishing her 11th Chicago Marathon in four hours and eighteen minutes. However, gaining her strength back was no easy task. Lynn first began to experience symptoms of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy in July 2017. Since then, it has been a journey of ups and downs as she struggled to get back her movement ability.
About Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is an inflammatory disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. This illness is considered an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks a part of the body, causing inflammation. The disease also results in the destruction of the myelin sheath in affected neurons, which is a protective, insulating covering that is vital for normal nerve communication. Risk factors for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy include paraproteinemia, diabetes, and HIV infection. This is a disorder than can progressively worsen over time; symptoms include tingling or numbness, ataxia, diminished reflexes, muscle weakness in the limbs, loss of coordination and balance, muscle cramps, difficulty walking, and nerve pain. Treatment options for this disease include plasma exchange, IVIG, steroids, and other immunosuppressive drugs. Physical therapy and stem cell transplant can also be beneficial. To learn more about chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, click here.
Lynn has a deep passion for exercise and physical activity, and we aren’t talking about your average job through the park. She has completed many marathons and was about to compete in her second Ironman triathlon when her first symptoms appeared. Lynn had just gotten off the plane to get to the race when she realized that she couldn’t compete; in fact, she could barely walk.
She had to stay in the hospital for four months before she received her diagnosis in November of 2017. She was paralyzed from the chest down. Lynn began to recover with plasma infusions, but the process involved numerous relapses and it took her many months to become comfortable running again.
For the Chicago Marathon, she raised a total of $6,000 dollars for AbilityLab and the GBS/CIDP Foundation, two organizations that are committed to working towards a cure for the disease. Lynn’s story is a testament to what is possible for rare disease patients who are facing what look like insurmountable odds.