Fighting for Claire and Her Generation | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association

Fighting for Claire and Her Generation

Russ Mitchell talks for a living. He’s a sportscaster. But until recently he didn’t talk about his CMT with anyone outside his family. That changed in a big way on September 1, when he added his voice to the chorus of voices spreading the word about CMT for Awareness Month. Read his story…

Growing up in California, my brother and I loved sports, organized and otherwise. We were outside from sunrise to sunset, running around our misspent youth. But as we hit our high school years in Louisiana, and despite our passion for football and basketball, we found running becoming more difficult. We remained athletic, but in college naturally gravitated to sports that did not require running: Spencer was a wrestler and I a rower. However, I never lost my love for football, and as I filled out to 6-5, 240 pounds, I felt like I’d missed my calling. That passion drove me to write for College Football News, which in turn led to radio and television.

Russ and Claire MitchellWith each passing year my feet got increasingly numb, my calves cramped often, and my toes started to curl under. Walking in the mornings became difficult. I dismissed this as a price of size; my mother’s (6’) and uncle’s (6’8”) feet started going numb in their late 30s, and the same thing seemed to be happening to both my brother and me. Just one of the joys of age, we concluded, and we’re not ones to complain…

By pure happenstance, I tripped (again) while walking barefoot at a neighborhood picnic, and while helping me up, a young man asked if I had any numbness with my feet. That chance encounter eventually led to our family’s CMT awakening. The way things are progressing, I’ll likely need a cane at some point, or more—but I enjoy every minute of life, and there are people with CMT (and others) suffering far worse than I am. However, for many, this wretched disease is more than painful—it’s devastating.

One in 2,500 people has CMT, and many are blind to that fact, as my family was. Please talk to your friends/neighbors, and know the signs of CMT. We’re this close to some amazing treatments that will help my daughter Claire, 7, and her generation fight—and perhaps even beat—this debilitating disease. Every bit helps – if you can spare a few bucks for Claire and her generation to fight, you’ll have my gratitude.

*Russ is a Senior Writer and Lead SEC Columnist for College Football News. A Heisman voter and FWAA member, he can be heard during the season as a regular guest on Sirius XM, ESPN, NBC Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, and more than two-dozen regional stations from Hawaii to NYC.

Russ talks about CMT on the Chuck Oliver Show: Russ_Mitchell.mp3