My wife, Carol, and I have been married 25 years and are the parents of 3 wonderful children: Anna - 18; Emily - 17; and Jackson - 10. Anna was diagnosed at age 1 with cystic fibrosis, a genetic defect resulting in chronic lung infections, progressive decline in lung function, and diabetes due to pancreatic involvement. Anna is now a freshman at the University of Georgia, majoring in journalism. She is beautiful, talented, and very determined. She handles her physical challenges with a lot of grace. We are more hopeful than ever about the future for Anna, because significant progress has been made in the last few years in the development of drugs which may "correct" the problem in cells caused by the defective gene. Your contribution to the Boomer Esiason Foundation will not only fund further research to find the cure for CF, but it will also fund scholarships that enable some CF patients to attend college.
I am grateful to the Boomer Esiason Foundation for the opportunity to participate in the 2012 New York City Marathon to raise money for CF research and to increase awareness in my community of the need to find a cure for this disease.
This is my first marathon. To start training for a marathon at age 50 is difficult, but my wife and children have been very supportive and encouraging. Each weekend when I do my longest training run of the week, I set a new personal record for distance. I am motivated by the words of encouragement and the generous gifts of so many friends, and I am inspired by the joy that Anna's life has brought to us.
Update: I broke the 20-mile barrier on my training run on 9/15/12. The difference between the marathon distance and what I have already covered in training is now very small. With only a few long training runs left before the race, I feel like I have nearly reached the peak of Mt. Everest and I am about to start the descent. Thank you to all who have been encouraging and supportive.
Update: This is a sad time for the Walls family. My beautiful, courageous daughter lost her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis on November 15, 2012. Her spirit is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, no longer struggling to breathe. In spite of her physical limitations, in her 18 years Anna accomplished a lot. She left her family and friends an inspiring example of what can be done when you focus on what you can do, instead making excuses for what you can't.
By now, everyone is aware that the marathon was cancelled due to weather. I am automatically entered in the 2013 marathon. I will be there, as I am more determined than ever to fight cystic fibrosis. I will never give up doing whatever I can to help find a cure so that fewer families will have to experience the loss of someone close to them.