He had always considered himself an athlete, but never a runner. In fact, Noah Coughlan had only ran in one marathon before deciding to go coast to coast to raise awareness for Batten Disease that affects thousands of children across the US.
Batten Disease is a rare genetic, neurological disease that stems from a defective gene from both parents that is passed on to a child. The child is born healthy and because of the enzyme in the brain, the body can't eliminate waste and they start losing sight, speech, and other motor skills.
Although Batten disease is rare, Noah has been in touch with hundreds of families along his route that are fighting the disease including Airon and Cameron Boley here in West Virginia. He tries to wear a different T-shirt everyday for the children battling Batten and always has awareness bracelets on his wrists.
"There's no way to script going into this how big it would become or how meaningful it is for the families and their friends and communities," said Coughlan. "It's just the basic idea that every child deserves a chance at life. This is an orphan disease, there's no cure yet, and I say yet because there's only been so much research, so much funding and that's where I feel these children need a voice."
Coughlan decided to run across America because it's a rare feat to raise awareness for a rare disease. More people have actually climbed Mount Everest than have ran across the United States, Coughlan will be only the 27th person to make the journey across the nation twice.
Saturday marked Coughlan's 92nd day of his latest journey and he is planning on going through the United 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA, Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT before ending at Boylston Street in Boston on Veterans Day, November 11th.