The expression “are you hurt, or are you injured?” is a nod to a trend of soldiers and athletes alike who “play hurt” and participate in missions or sporting events despite pain and discomfort caused by an ailment. Beth Ludwig, a Lincoln Public Schools primary school principal on Hanscom Air Force Base (currently on a medical leave of absence) is battling a neurological movement disorder called dystonia, will be doing just that come July 15th.
With a mental toughness, the Sudbury, MA resident will run in the 8th annual Run to Home Base presented by New Balance at Fenway in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program.
Despite being diagnosed with dystonia, a movement disorder that causes certain muscles to contract involuntarily, Ludwig signed up for the 5K – and is fundraising to support Home Base and its mission to heal the invisible wounds for Post-9/11 Veterans, Service Members and their Families. Invisible wounds that include post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other issues associated with the deployment cycle.
Similar to Parkinson’s disease, dystonia can affect various muscle groups, but for Ludwig, it happens to be in her eyes, facial muscles, and arms. Since her onset of symptoms in 2009 and formal diagnosis in 2015 Ludwig started to run to retrain – or rewire – her brain to process motor and motor and sensory signals normally again.
There’s no cure for dystonia, but Ludwig says training for the Run to Home Base has been therapeutic in more ways than one. “Training for the Run to Home Base has helped me channel my time and energy into something positive, something meaningful. It has also played a role in addressing some of my chronic symptoms” Ludwig said. “I’ve never run a road race before, never had a track coach, but given my personal military connections as a school principal on a military base; this is the one race in which I knew I had to be a part.”
Ludwig initially set her fundraising goal at $750, but quickly surpassed her goal after just three days. Since then, she has set the bar a bit higher and aims to raise $2,000 for Home Base.
Ludwig says getting to the home plate finish line at Fenway will be no easy feat, but every step she takes will be filled with purpose. Just like the soldiers she is fundraising to support, Ludwig is carrying out a mission “hurt.” Though she is inspired by those she is running for, her own personal story is an inspiration in itself.
If you would like to support Beth and help her reach her Run to Home Base fundraising finish line, please visit her 2017 Run to Home Base fundraising page here.