team dirt's Fight for Sight

Choroideremia Research Foundation Inc

team dirt's Fight for Sight

Training buddies team dirt

team dirt's Fight for Sight


Thank you for visiting team dirt's fundraising page!

team dirt comprises of 100+ compassionate runners and countless supporters who are raising money and awareness for Choroideremia (CHM) research. CHM is a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid and retina leading to blindness. Read on for more details, or just DONATE!!


The Team

team dirt was assembled with the goal of promoting good health, improving our community and raising awareness of a rare eye disease one stride at a time. You may be asking yourself, "why dirt?" As the brilliant philosopher, coach, hugger and Chicago native, Jon Vehlow, once eloquently wrote "dirt. because that's what we (you) run on, that's what you fly on, that's what you pick yourselves up from. we all come from it, we all have it, it's what we thrive on, it's the embodiment of everyone's opinions of us. it shows we're humble. it shows we're hungry. you hungry? i am. hungry for the competition. hungry for the W. hungry for victory. out of this dirt we grow champions. you want to be a champion? thought so, welcome to team dirt."

***Want to join team dirt? Go to

***team dirt shines in The Korea Times!!! See the article at



Runners: Too many to list!

Coaches, Motivators, Massage Specialists, Photographers, Huggers: Here and there and everywhere!

team dirt T-shirt Sponsors: Dane's TexMex Grill 236, The Frog and Toad, Old Rock, and Bar Boom


The Races

Current Race: 

1) TBD 

Past Races: 

1) 6th Annual DMZ International Peace Marathon - September 13, 2009 (30+ team dirt runners)

2) Nike Human Race 10K - October 24, 2009 - Theme: Neon (40+ runners)

3) KM Marathon - December 5, 2009 - Theme: Lions/Tigers & Zebras (96 runners)

4) 2010 Goyang Women's Half Marathon - February 28, 2010 - Theme: team dirt (25 runners)

5) 2010 Seoul International Marathon - March 21, 2010 - Theme: Finish (8 runners)

6) Gwacheon Marathon Festival - April 25, 2010 - Theme: Superheroes (49 runners)

7) Bada Marathon - May 29, 2010 - Theme: National Pride (70 runners)

8) 7th Annual DMZ International Peace Marathon - September 12, 2010 - Theme: Pirates vs Ninjas (73 runners)

9) Park Love Tour Marathon - October 30, 2010 - Theme: Halloween (68 runners)

10) 8th Han River Marathon - December 19, 2010 - Theme: Holidays (85 runners)

11) 2011 Goyang Women's Half Marathon - March 6, 2011 - Theme: Duct Tape (39 runners)

12) 6th Dawn Marathon - April 30, 2011 - Theme: Mother's Day (49 runners)

13) 2011 NB Race - June 12, 2011 - Theme: Retro Runner (7 runners) 

14) 8th Annual DMZ International Peace Marathon - September 4, 2011 - Theme: Beach Party (36 runners)


The Cause

Choroideremia research. Huh? Choroideremia (kôr'oi-də-rē'mē-ə) or CHM is a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid and retina. In childhood, night blindness is the most common first symptom. As the disease progresses, there is loss of vision, frequently starting as an irregular ring that gradually expands both in toward central vision and out toward the extreme periphery.  Simply, CHM leads to eventual blindness.

***To get a feel for what it is like to have CHM, check out Mike's story in the video above.



Choroideremia runs in my family. In fact, my grandpa was legally blind in his early 40s and my great uncle has lived most of his adult life in blindness. However, it really didn't hit home for me until my brother, Brandon Becker, was diagnosed with the disease about 14 years ago. One of my parents' biggest fears when having children was that one of us might actually inherit the disease. It wasn't until Brandon was a teenager did evidence of CHM start to surface. After he was in a couple of minor car accidents over a short period of time my parents took him to see an eye specialist. The doctor confirmed their fears. Brandon had CHM. 

While growing up and still to this day, Brandon has had better than perfect eyesight, 20/15 vision. On the other hand, I can't make out a face from 20 feet away without my corrective lens. The problem for Brandon is those damned blind spots mentioned above. While they may have started as paper thin rings of blindness, they have now bloated to the size of donuts. This became evident in his recent trip to visit me in Korea. After a night of meet and greet with my friends we decided to do a little dancing. Due to the lack of lighting at the club, Brandon had extreme difficultly differentiating between darkness and blindness. I just remember looking at him and thinking how vulnerable he looked. It reminded me of what toddlers look like when they lose track of their mothers in a grocery store. Brandon only felt slightly comforted when he clutched my shoulder for a sense of daytime reality. Needless to say, our time dancing was short-lived. It was the first time I had left the dance floor for reasons unrelated to my terrible dancing abilities.

One of the sad thing about CHM is there are no current treatments...nothing to even delay the inevitable, blindness. Even worse, minimal funding for CHM makes it difficult for doctors and researchers to develop treatments or to find a cure. All hope is not lost though. After talking with executives from Choroideremia foundations in both the United States and the United Kingdom, I have reason to be optimistic. According to the foundations, genetic researchers have isolated the specific gene that causes CHM. One of their challenges, however, will be to develop an effect replacement therapy for the defective gene. *Please take note that this research does not involve the use embryonic stem cells* Another challenge, as you may have guessed, is funding. Researchers have estimated the cost to bring possible treatments to clinical trials to be a minimum of $2.5 million. Given enough funding though, they are potentially within two years of starting FDA trials. 

Brandon has already given up the freedom of driving and struggles with the idea of what he will do in the future when he loses his sight completely. But, even with all of the obstacles he faces, Brandon remains hopeful. He attributes his hope to positive news on potential cures and help from his beautiful girlfriend Rosa, his family, friends, CHM support groups and people like you.


How Can You Help?

The easiest thing you can do to help is to educate yourself. For more information on CHM please visit

Another option is to sponsor team dirt's efforts to raise money for the ongoing research of CHM. While each team member varies in raw athletic ability, one thing we all have in common is our strong, compassionate hearts. We have come together for the common purpose of truly making a positive difference in our lives and the lives of others.  We hope that you will support us.

Our chosen charitable organization is the Choroideremia Research Foundation. This foundation raises money to fund research for a cure or treatment of CHM.  In addition, they also provide support for those suffering from the disease by providing them the tools to continue living a relatively normal life. This help comes in the form of support groups, job placement and low vision coping strategies.

If you would like to support us in our running endeavors and donate to a great cause please click on the DONATE button at the top or bottom of the page. Individually, we have already paid our registation fees for the race. This means that 100% of the money you donate will go towards finding a cure for CHM.

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support our fundraising efforts. Also, if you would like your donation to remain anonymous check the hide my name option on the donation page.

However, if you would like to mail your contribution please print off the Contribution Form (ms word format) and send it directly to the Choroideremia Research Foundation. Please mail the form and donation to the address provided on the form.

Questions? Contact team dirt at

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

Let's do something great together! team dirt!! Fighting!!! 


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team dirt's Fight for Sight
team dirt's Fight for Sight