Carrie Siu Butt ( Fall 2001, Stanford GSB Application Essay):
” I still daydream about running a marathon and hope that one day they will find a cure for Dystonia. What matters most? I want to win this fight. I want to destroy this monster that has attacked my body. And if I don’t so be it.”
About 23 years ago I was diagnosed with Dystonia. The disease struck at puberty and only worsened as I got older. As I approached my 30s walking became a painful and arduous exercise; I was afraid my inevitable path led to life in a wheelchair. But three years ago I decided to try an experimental procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation to hopefully mitigate some of the physical pain of day to day life. To my surprise, six weeks post brain surgery the first miracle happened – I began to walk “normally”. Things improved steadily and I decided right then that if I ever had a chance to run, I would set my sights on a 10K. One year later, I achieved that goal. For my third year anniversary I decided I would run my version of a marathon – 2 half marathons. On April 25th, I shed tears of happiness completing my first half marathon with my best friend Liz. On August 2nd, I completed my second half marathon which I dedicate to my sister Suzie. She also suffers from this disease and at one point in her life knew what it was like to live in a wheelchair. The legs that crossed the finish line on August 2nd were hers! I plan to run this time with two amazing friends who have held my hand many times when I lost focus on what was most important. Finally, I would like to thank my loving parents and friends for cheering me through this journey and believing in me when I so often wanted to quit. When I crossed that finish line, I will have proven that miracles do happen – when you let yourself believe in them!
This has been intensely personal for me, and I want to support others who are going through the same experience. I run for all the boys and girls that can’t; the ones that wish that they can run and I do it for myself! I am excited to work out every day for every person with Dystonia, you are all in my heart when I run, cycle or swim!
To give you a sense of how far I’ve come…. this video is me, Pre-Op:
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