Van Batavia runs despite battling an immune deficiency

immuneIt’s hard enough going through life with its trials and tribulations, but how does someone go through life with a genetic condition and still manage to live out their days doing what they love most—running.  Runner, librarian, teacher and mother of three, Angela Van Batavia, tells us how.

Van Batavia was diagnosed May 2013 with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), a genetic condition that damages the immune system.  Because of her new diagnosis, Van Batavia now has to receive IV transfusions of immunoglobulin once every four weeks.

“I eat right, I run, I don’t smoke; I take care of myself—I shouldn’t be the one getting this,” said Van Batavia, in reaction to her diagnosis.  “This isn’t fair.”

People with CVID also have a high likelihood of getting pneumonia, along with other respiratory issues.  For Van Batavia, this meant that her dreams of qualifying for the Boston Marathon would be no more.

“I missed Boston’s qualifying time by three minutes and 12 seconds last year,” said Van Batavia.  “I knew I wouldn’t have the stamina or continued good health to train to qualify in the future.”

Although her dreams of qualifying for Boston were shattered, Van Batavia manages to keep a healthy lifestyle through recreational running.

“I want to be as healthy as possible, and running helps me maintain my healthy circle,” said Van Batavia.  “When I eat well, it’s easier for me to run, and when I run, I feel better about myself and my body.”

immuneFor Van Batavia, running means sanity because when she runs she doesn’t hide her frustrations, anger, self-pity, doubt, sadness, disappointments and fears.  A day when she runs, is a day where she feels she did at least one thing right.

There’s no slowing down for Van Batavia, as her days are filled with: making breakfast, taking care of her kids, collaborating and presenting lessons in various classrooms at her school, library lessons, running four to five miles after school, picking up her kids from school, helping with homework, chores, dinner, and lastly, teaching an online class through UCM.  She is the epitome of a ‘super mom’ and does so with less than desirable health conditions.

“Sometimes I don’t get through the everyday things,” said Van Batavia.  “I have learned to listen to my body, and I am learning to forgive myself if I can’t get everything done.  I’ve also learned to overlook things that used to bother me—laundry on the floor, toys scattered around, dishes in the sink—I am learning to be more relaxed.”

Support and understanding of the condition is provided by her husband Brian, who encourages her running.  Van Batavia uses her husband and kids as motivation to make it through her runs.

“He gives up time out of his schedule so I can run,” said Van Batavia.  “He gets up early with me and comes to all of my races and tries to keep track of all three of the children during the race.  I want to make him proud and set a good example for my kids, so I try to keep going.”

If you are in need of motivation to meet your health and fitness goals, take time to remember Angela’s story.  If she can do it, so can you!

By LaRenn DiPede, Marketing Intern