Next Saturday, November, 8, Santa Barbara will host dozens of racers and walkers to raise both awareness and funds to support Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) patients, at the annual Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Marathon and Half Marathon. Gwendolyn Strong, a 7-year-old patient and the beneficiary of the event, dubbed the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, is also going to participate, with the help of her father, Bill.
“They won’t be the first to cross the finish line in Saturday’s Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Marathon and Half but they will probably receive the most cheers,” the foundation announced in a press release. Bill Strong will be present at the marathon and half, as well as fifty friends from the family, to support the 7-year-old and all the racers who are going to raise more for the disease, which is first genetic cause of death in infants.
Gwendolyn, who suffers from SMA Type I, is not able to walk anymore, but her father Bill will push her through the course for the third time. “What this kids go through every day and the challenges that they face, and come through with such a positive attitude, for me to have the ability to run, I will figure it out a way to do it,” said Bill Strong in an interview to the News Channel 3.
Gwendolyn Strong has been an inspiration not only for her family, but also for families suffering with the burden of the disease all over the world. She was diagnosed when she was only six months old and the doctors said she wouldn’t be able to live after the two years. Not only is she already a second-grader who participates in all activities, including hip-hop classes, but also her family has been dedicated to make the difference regarding SMA.
Bill Strong and his wife Victoria founded the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation to help find a cure for the disease and help families all over the world who suffer with it. They have quickly increased the number of supporters who are also committed to having an impact and change the future of this genetic and devastating disease.