Special Assignment

A Milwaukee woman's mission for her mom

CREATED Jun 11, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - Katie Mayer never really liked to run much.  She prefers soccer and field hockey, but that didn't stop her from trying a half marathon.

"It was incredibly hard and I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to finish," she recalls.

But Katie did she finish, and that race turned out to be just the start.  She made running her mission.  Katie created Run Because.  It's a non-profit organization that raises awareness for a disease most people have never heard of.  Katie explains, "Run Because is Me.  Running in every state.  A half marathon, plus Washington D.C. by age 50, for Meniere's Disease."

Meniere's is a disease of the inner ear.  It's not life threatening, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have an impact.

"Your ears are ringing, you can barely stand and you can't drive, and so you're not really able to go about you're daily work, family things.  You know it shuts you down," Katie explains.

So she runs to get the word out and raise money.  Katie has a long way to go--she just finished race number 4.  She admits, "It is a lot.  My goal right now is 5 or 6 races per year, so that I'll finish well in advance of my goal of age 50."

It's been worth every moment.

"You don't have to make it some big formal official thing. You can just be passionate about something and you can do it, and it can change your life and a lot of other people's," Katie says.

Different people have joined Katie for in each run, but she says there is always one constant--mom.  "We're really close.  She traveled with me to all of my races so far, and we've had a total blast.  Having her at the finish line is what makes it worth it." 

Katie is shooting to raise $50,000 for Meniere's research.  Her next race is Chicago in September.  We wish her luck!