Michelle Cunningham

Run Your Own Race

Support Me

As many of you know, I took up running in 2012. Running has made a huge impact on my life because up until 4 years ago, I could barely run a mile without wanting to quit. I've never been a runner. I blamed my asthma, my chronic anemia, my overall "non-running bad genes". With hard work I kept pushing through my workouts and I've now completed six half marathons and one full marathon. Two years ago I started to notice more than my usual running aches and pains. I've worked with podiatrists, chiropractors, and physical therapists and have found some relief. It wasn't until I started getting pains in my non-running joints that I questioned if something more might be going on than my usual running injuries.
I was 15 years old when I was first diagnosed with psoriasis. I had several small patches on my body that were managed by topical medications. As the years have gone by my psoriasis has gotten worse. It's not noticible to everyone because I've become a master at hiding it well. In fact a lot of people are surprised when I tell them I've had it for 25 years. I thought I was lucky, because I can hide my psoriasis and I have many friends who have it covering much more of their body.
I started to investigate my aches and pains and wondered, do I have psoriatic arthritis? No I couldn't, my psoriasis doesn't cover THAT much of my body. I would find out this is a common misconception. You can have psoriatic arthritis even with moderate psoriasis like I have. So I took my concerns to my doctor. I've been ignoring pains that I thought would go away, but they haven't. I've had chronic pain in my shoulder since last fall. Everyday I wake up and it hurts and lasts throughout the day. I ignored it, kept thinking it would go away, but it hasn't. I even had a MRI on my back for degenerative disc disease, and early arthritis was seen on those images but I didn't think I had psoriatic arthritis. Well, I was wrong.
So I now find myself in the early stages of being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I have an upcoming appointment with a rheumatologist to rule out RA and to help me stay healthy. I've been dealing with psoriasis for 25 years, and I knew this was always a possibility. I'm not upset, if anything I'm determined to help find a cure for this autoimmune disease that plagues so many.
Running brings me joy and I'm not going to let this disease stop me from doing something I love. There are many of us out there with psoriatic disease, many people with psoriatic arthritis that aren't letting it get in their way. I have two half marathons scheduled for this fall and I've decided that instead of just running, I would run for a cause. A cause that affects me and so many others. 
Please support my dream of a life free of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by making a personal donation as I run with Team NPF Run. 
All money raised by Team NPF Run provides people with psoriatic disease the services they need to live well, while funding research for a cure. 
There are three ways you can help me:
  1. Support me with a donation
  2. Track my progress on Facebook
  3. Meet me at the finish line 
Thank you so much for your support of this project that is so important to me.



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