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Man runs half-marathon barefoot to raise awareness for rare disease

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 27, 2020
and last updated 2021-10-01 10:42:06-04

ZIONSVILLE — A Zionsville man ran a half-marathon barefoot Saturday to raise awareness for Pearson syndrome.

Jeremy Shupperd planned on being the only one to run the half-marathon through Carmel and downtown Zionsville, but his friends decided to join him when they found out what he's doing.

"Running barefoot is a good attention getter and when people ask, it's a great conversation starter," Shuppherd said.

He's hoping to raise awareness for this rare disease his baby cousin, Luca, has. A disease with no cure.

"Pearson syndrome is a mitochondrial depleting genetic disorder, so it impacts their blood and white blood cell count," Shuppherd said. "Essentially it impacts their organs and the prognosis is not the best. Possibly a short-lived life."

Luca's family, who lives in Tampa, Florida, says they are staying encouraged.

"I started my campaign to raise funds," Shuppherd said. "My challenge was to run two miles barefoot every day for 30 days straight. I thought that would be physically and mentally challenging for myself. On day 20, I decided that wasn't enough of a challenge."

He says while it's challenging, he thinks it proves the body is capable of amazing things when healthy and functioning.

Shuppherd is raising money for The Champ Foundation.