Watch as one man runs cross country with a giant American flag to help raise awareness for a childhood disease you have probably never heard of before.
He’s not “running for no particular reason” like Forrest Gump did. He isn’t even running as a grand patriotic gesture. Noah Coughlan is running 3,100 miles – 35 miles a day for 106 days for a cause you have probably not even hear of before.
For his second time in two years, Coughlan will push a baby stroller with a giant US flag attached to raise awareness for Batten disease. Upon completion, he will be the 27th person to run across country twice. While he isn’t doing this to show off his patriotism, he says he has gotten quite a reputation for being a patriotic guy.
Batten disease is fairly rare and parents usually only find out about it when their child has it. A child can seem healthy for years before they start experiencing symptoms of clumsiness, vision problems, and seizures.
Only an estimated two to four of every 100,000 births in the US result in Battens. Once parents learn their child is diagnosed with it, they also learn their child will die; Batten disease is fatal.
Kathy Allio, a California mother told the newspaper, “To find out that your child has a terminal illness… you begin the grieving at the diagnosis. The second diagnosis is just numbing.” Out of her six children, Kathy has two born with Batten disease.
The disease is a losing battle from the start. Doctors say the symptoms begin to show in children ages 5 to 10. Eventually the child becomes completely blind and bedridden with dementia. Most children succumb to Battens in their teens or early twenties.
Two years ago, Coughlan came to the Allio parents and proposed his American flag cross country run to raise awareness for the 100% fatal childhood disease. He completed his first ocean-to-ocean run in July 2011, just 10 months before Catie Allio died from Batten disease at the age of 22.
During his first run, Coughlan had a team following him to provide food, water, and shelter. This time he chose to run solo, just him and his giant American flag.
Coughlan said, “I’m running for children who there is not cure for their disease.”
If all goes according to plan, he should finish in Boston in early November. Keep up to date on his progress by following his blog, Twitter and Facebook updates.
We think this is a pretty inspiring idea but what do you think of Coughlan’s idea to run across the USA with an American flag?