The Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation’s Team CMT Founder and Manager Chris Wodke is changing the face of Charcot-Marie-Tooth one mile at a time. Chris is an accomplished triathlete, marathon runner, and cyclist.
And she has Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
Diagnosed in 2010, Chris had a vision to share her athletic feats with a community in need of increased awareness of the positive impact exercise has on your health, even for those affected by CMT.
Starting an exercise program can be intimidating to many CMT patients, when tasks such as buttoning a shirt, navigating stairs, or opening a jar are daily challenges. Foot deformities, balance deficiencies, and increased risk of falling can also discourage those living with CMT from participating in regular forms of physical activity.
However, there is an increasing body of clinical and scientific information indicating that most CMT patients, when not contraindicated, should regularly participate in exercise and physical activity.
She founded Team CMT to provide a platform to raise awareness and funds for CMT research through athletic events. This grassroots community fundraising program is currently 196 members strong, across 37 states, and has an international presence in Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland, and Iran.
The Milwaukee native and Baby Boomer boasts an impressive and inspiring athletic resume that includes:
- 2nd place in the Mobility Impaired Division at the Boston Marathon, where she also raised $10,000 for HNF in 2012.
- 1st in the Physically Challenged Open Division of the Paratriathlon National Sprint Championship in Austin Texas, 2012.
- 2nd place in the same race in 2013.
- PC Open Champion Duathlon National Championship 2014.
- National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Championship at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship in 2014.
- Represented Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015, and will represent the US at the World Championship in Cozumel in 2016.
She’s also chronicled her life as an athlete with CMT in her book “Running For My Life, Winning For CMT”.
HNF is thrilled to have Chris participate in a panel discussion on “Personal Exercise Prescription” at the Patient-Centered Charcot-Marie-Tooth Summit to share her experiences with the community.
Let’s hear more from Chris:
HNF: How has CMT affected your life?
Chris: It has made me realize how blessed I am to still be active. I see that as a gift that I have chosen to use to raise awareness of CMT. I have many of the typical CMT issues, but I am determined not to let it keep me from doing the things I love to help fight this condition.
HNF: What do you hope attendees take away from the Summit?
Chris: I hope they will choose to be active if they are not, and be encouraged to keep being active if they are. I also hope they find others with CMT and make connections to build a sense of community.
HNF: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Chris: We all have a role to play in the community. You do not have to run marathons or write a book to make a difference. Use the talents you have to encourage others, raise awareness, and find a cure.
Don’t miss this chance to ask your questions and learn from this inspiring athlete, author, and leader in our community at the Patient-Centered Charcot-Marie-Tooth Summit October 6, 2016 in New York City.
To read more about Chris and her athletic accomplishments and future goals, visit her website at www.run4cmt.com