A man with a terminal lung disease finished the Seattle Marathon, Sunday, nearly 11 hours after he stepped off the starting line with oxygen bottles in tow.
“The last 14 miles, starting at about mile 12, were really tough,” said Evans Wilson, who has pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that scars the lungs and makes it more difficult for the body to absorb oxygen.
The disease is not well understood, and research dollars are scarce. There is no known cure.
“I went two-and-a-half years without a diagnosis, and that is not uncommon,” Wilson said.
He wanted to raise awareness and money for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, so he signed up for the marathon, his first. He trained by walking on a treadmill while wearing an oxygen mask and taking long walks with his wife.
Wilson, who used to be a runner, wasn’t sure if he would be able to finish the full 26.2 miles, but with his team cheering him on, he powered through his exhaustion.
“I couldn't wimp out,” he said.
Nearly 11 hours after he started, Wilson crossed the finish line. Adrenaline turned to emotion.
“The stadium was empty, all the awards were done, but the Seattle Marathon people were there, and they had my medal waiting for me,” Wilson said.
Learn more about Wilson’s fundraiser here.