Blind runner raises money for cystic fibrosis research
MISSOULA, Mont. - David Kuhn of Illinois is running around the country for his 12-year-old granddaughter who has cystic fibrosis.
It's a terminal genetic disease that mostly affects the lungs. People who have it don't usually live past their 40s.
Kuhn tells NBC Montana it's finding a cure to this disease, that's giving him the strength to make such a remarkable journey.
"I'm one scared grandpa because she won't live as long as I have. That is one thing that is certain. It's her liver and pancreas that are racing to destroy themselves," said Kuhn.
He started his running journey in Seattle and will make his way around the U.S, then end where he began.
What makes Kuhn unique is the fact that he's blind. He lost his eyesight at the age of 29. An accident with a drunk driver caused him to slowly lose his vision and by the age of 62, "I've had so many wonderful things happen to me as a direct result of me losing my eyesight that I have no anger or sadness about it. If in fact my ophthalmologist called me and said, ‘You get back here tomorrow and I can restore your eyesight', I'd tell him no," said Kuhn.
He has a special rope he uses in order to run or walk his miles.
"My guide would take the rope and if it's light running traffic, we can have a lot of slack in it, that's not a problem. If there's a lot of running traffic, a lot of people around us, then it's palm to palm, then I'm real sensitive to any movement left to right," said Kuhn.
He's the only one traveling on this trip and says he'll do it in about 18 to 19 months. Being blind has been difficult but Kuhn says cystic fibrosis is a lot worse.
"When I consider many of the struggles that my granddaughter and many of the people with cystic fibrosis have, it's really nothing because I can quit anytime I want and I can say, ‘Tomorrow's it! I've had it!' They can't," said Kuhn.
He says he's run about 400 miles so far and that he started back in May.
His goal is to raise half a million dollars and his next stop is Butte.
Kuhn tells NBC Montana that he's still looking for guides to help him make it through Montana and the rest of his journey.
He gave NBC Montana contact information for people to connect with him.
Twitter handle: @allicandoisrun