Running for a cure: Lynchburg woman, teammates battling same disease, to compete in grueling relay race

The team members, all living with Parkinson’s Disease, are running together to raise awareness for the disease and to help find a cure

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Running to close the gap for a cure.

Renee Trent is training for this weekend’s Blue Ridge Relay, where she and 11 teammates will attempt to run 208 miles in less than 35 hours.

The team will start near Mount Rogers in Virginia and run to Ashville, North Carolina while tackling 17,000 feet of elevation.

It’s a grueling task for any athlete – then factor in that every member of Trent’s team is living with Parkinson’s Disease.

“When I was diagnosed, my neurologist in town said, ‘You know, I don’t really treat many people at your age,’” Trent said.

The Lynchburg resident was 47 years old when she was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s. Health experts with John Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic said most people are diagnosed 60 and older.

While there is medication, experts said that participating in aerobic exercise several times a week for about 30 minutes can help slow the progression.

That’s why Trent laced up.

“Once I ran, I felt like I had taken more medication. I felt better, so that was the start,” said Trent.

Trent’s journey hasn’t stopped. The now-53-year-old discovered her teammates online from across the country. Now, they’re competing together to raise awareness.

“When you get that feeling, ‘Hey, I see these people and I see how well they’re living,’ you’re like, ‘Oh wow, let’s really go for that,’” Trent said.

The team is also raising money for their cause.

As of Sept. 5, the team had collected $20,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to research and treatment for the disease.

It’s an uphill relay of an uphill fight to find a cure.

“Rest is rust. Motion is lotion,” Trent said.

About the Author

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.

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