Happy (early) Thanksgiving!
I hope this post finds you well, perhaps defrosting your turkey or doing some last minute grocery shopping. Wherever you are today, I hope you’re already with your special people or will be very soon.
This Thanksgiving Eve, I am so excited to write this final (for now) post of the Running for Nana adventure. One year ago this week, I told my family that I wanted to run a marathon. It was our first Thanksgiving without our Nana at the head of the table, and I knew I wanted to run to support research for treatment of C. difficile – the infection against which she fought so hard.
During the next several months, you helped to make that dream a reality through your kind words, training tips, encouragement, and donations to the Microbiota Therapeutics Program (MTP) at the University of Minnesota, one of the leading C. diff research programs in the country. Your giving continued even beyond the marathon, throughout the summer and into the early fall.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to each of you for being a part of this adventure and today, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the final numbers with you:
- Thanks to 77 incredibly generous individual/family donations, together we REACHED the goal of raising $10,000 for the MTP!!
- Then, thanks to a very generous family donation, each gift was MATCHED, bringing the total to $20,000 raised for the fight against C. difficile!!
But wait – it gets even better. Your donations have already made a difference.
Last month, I had a chance to correspond with Dr. Alexander Khoruts, Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota and a faculty member in the MTP, and I want to share a few things with you:
- With the help of philanthropic support, the MTP was able to bring Dr. Matthew Hamilton, PhD, back to their team. Dr. Hamilton previously worked with the MTP to develop capsules of the freeze-dried microbiota. Like the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) procedure delivered through a colonoscopy, these capsules are used to fight C. difficile. The capsules are even more simple though, as they can be taken in one session without the need for any special prep.
- Dr. Khoruts said that with your help, the MTP developed this encapsulated preparation that has already helped to cure ~60 people from otherwise refractory, recurrent C. difficile infection.
- The team at the MTP believes that this will be critical as they continue to advance therapies for C. difficile and other conditions. Moving forward, they aim to increase the production of these capsules at the University of Minnesota and across the country to be able to cure patients with C. difficile, ideally free of charge.
As we close this chapter of Running for Nana, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, your love, and your support in the fight against C. diff. Thank you for helping me to celebrate and reflect on the good things at a time in my life when everything seemed to turn upside down.
And finally, thank you for loving my Nana and our family like part of your own. From all of us – Happy Thanksgiving to you!