Sioux Falls Dad Runs Twin Cities Marathon To Find Cure For Daughter

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Friedreich’s Ataxia is rare childhood disease that progressively makes children unable to walk, and can cause early heart disease.

That’s because of a genetic mutation that prevents the body from producing the protein that repairs nerve and heart cells. 

While only 5,000 people in the country have FA…one is a Sioux Falls teenager. 

Her dad is running to raise money for this deadly disease with no cure. 

Dan Brendtro’s first marathon, is about his daughter. 

“I think I signed up for the marathon because I was looking for a challenge, and then I found out there was a group running for my daughter’s disease, so I signed on for that,” father Dan Brendtro said. 

Bredntro’s daughter Raena has Friedreich’s Ataxia. 

“The disease that Raena has is progressive. So every day, it’s wearing down her nerve cells and her heart cells a little more,” Dan Brendtro said. 

One thing FA hasn’t worn down, is Raena’s spirit. She remains positive, despite her diagnosis. 

“Friedrich’s Ataxia affects my feet more than anything else. My balance, my coordination…especially my feet,” Raena Brendtro said. 

That means Raena spends part of her day in a wheelchair. 

“Because, your feet need to be coordinated if you want to walk on two legs,” Raena said. 

Making running…nearly impossible. 

“It’s really important for him to do this, because there’s a very good chance I won’t be able to ever run a marathon,” Raena said. 

“The goal is to try to find a cure before it’s gone too far,” Brendtro said. 

Researchers have been working to find a cure for 20 years. 

“Unlike most rare diseases, they know the mechanism behind what causes this. So all the effort right now is focused on how to use that mechanism to cure the disease,” Bredntro said. 

Brendtro hopes to raise $1,000 per mile in tomorrow’s race. 

So this family is one step closer to a cure. 

So far the family is at almost 19,000 dollars of their goal.

There are more than 25 runners on Team FARA for tomorrow’s Twin Cities Marathon. 

If you’d like to donate to Raena’s team, click here. 

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