As next month’s Boston Marathon approaches, those in the assistive technology community remember an amazing race run just a couple of years ago. This race was special not just because the participants completed the daunting 26.2 miles, but also because one of the marathoners has ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects around 30,000 Americans at any given time. Because the disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, people with ALS are often unable to participate in activities they enjoyed previously, whether it’s walking, talking, or even – running a marathon.
Six years ago, Denise Dimarco was diagnosed with ALS, but at the 2014 Boston Marathon, she crossed the finish line. Denise’s husband, Chris Benyo, pushed Dimarco in a special jogger the entire 26.2 miles. Chris is an experienced runner, and he wanted to finish the race with his wife, who relies on assistive technology, such as a motorized wheelchair to get around and a computer to speak (similar to our Eyegaze Edge eye tracking device)
“We run together no matter what the situation,” said Chris.
They finished the race – together – in four hours and 36 minutes.
After completing the marathon in Boston, the couple headed to The New Jersey Marathon for a repeat performance.
“Hopefully we can bring some greater awareness to this awful disease,” said Chris.