Monday, December 6, 2010

NYC high school sprinting star in desperate need of bone marrow donor

I started my running "career" as a sprinter, way back in the day. (Actually, my first running was from the batter's box to first base, but that's a story for another day.)

Today, when I write feature articles about runners, one of the questions I often ask is what their favorite "discipline" is within the sport: cross county, roads, track or trail. My very unscientific study has found that often the first discipline introduced is the favorite. For example, I have many friends who love cross country. When I ask why that is, they'll often recount how it was the first sport they tried out for in high school.

For me that sport was track and it's what I always answer as my first love (followed closely by road racing.) And within track, although I went on to run middle distance in college and dabbled in distance racing post-collegiately, I always think first of my sprinting days.

My decades-long interest in sprinting (and sprinters) is why this story about a young New York City woman first caught my eye. Reading her story touched my heart. Ahtyana Johnson is a senior at Cardozo High School. She's a highly-recruited sprinting star who was recently diagnosed with an often-fatal, rare blood disorder. She's currently in need of a bone marrow donor.

From the article "If you are healthy, young and have a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant, the odds in your favor are in the 97-plus percent range," said Sandra Walter of the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation. [photo courtesy:]

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