Doctor running marathon on behalf of patients battling rare diseases

Doctor running marathon on behalf of patients battling rare diseases

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Have you ever wanted to give up? Have you ever had someone help in your journey to life's finish line?

Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.

This is a story of hope, faith, determination and love—of three great people doing great things and Running for Rare.

"From birth to today, I received nutrition from the IV from my chest, anywhere from twelve hours a night, anywhere from three nights a week to seven nights a week. That was my normal," said Swapna Kakani, who has been dealing with short bowel syndrome her entire life.

Swapna decided to take the leap of faith to go through an intestinal transplant, which is a high-risk surgery.

She battled and reached a finish line to reach a form of normalcy in her life.

Kakani, who was raised in the Huntsville area, is a motivational speaker who travels around the country to raise awareness for rare diseases. She is also in charge of Alabama Rare.

[Read more about Alabama Rare here]

Life gave Swapna a marathon of obstacles and the same could be said for Kristin Anthony, who has faced a battle of her own.

Anthony was diagnosed with PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome, which is a genetic mutation that puts patients at great risk of developing multiple types of cancer.

"My mother had a second bout of breast cancer and then later passed away from kidney cancer. We learned that she had the same disease as I have," said Anthony.

Through Anthony's persistence, she was able to enact a plan of action that saved her life. She also started a nonprofit organization on behalf of rare diseases.

Kakani and Anthony share a bond in Huntsville due to separate rare diseases they have dealt with throughout their lives. They were linked together by a family friend, serving them and others battling rare diseases, all while running none other than the Boston Marathon.

Dr. Suresh Karne has run countless marathons, but this one is different. This one is a celebration of life for so many battling everyday obstacles around the world.

"The marathon finish will happen as long as God will let me and the legs keep moving, so I'm not that reflective on those kinds of things," said Karne.

He added, "I think about all those patients and family members that are really struggling and trying to finish their marathon which is finding treatment for their diseases."

If you would like to learn more about Alabama Rare and to donate, click here.

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