CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On the morning of Sunday, May 10, dozens of student-athletes from MIT joined 400 participants at the annual POTS Walk and 5K Race – held in Medford, Massachusetts – to raise money and awareness for the disease that affects between one and three million Americans, most of them young women.
POTS – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome – is a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can leave those suffering from the disease unable to function, while enduring lightheadedness, fainting, tachycardia, chest pains, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal problems. All funds raised at the event were donated to Dysautonomia International, a non-profit organization that focuses on assisting people living with POTS and spreading awareness about the disease.
Sunday's walk was dedicated to MIT freshman Christina Tournant, a member of the swimming and diving team that passed away in March while battling the disease. In the short six months that Tina was at MIT she had a profound impact across the campus, as evidenced by the huge turnout at the 5k. Friends and teammates acknowledge that Tina was private about her symptoms but she was known campus-wide for her notorious laugh and genuine care for the wellbeing of those around her. Tina lit up every room and never wanted people to know she was struggling.
Tournant enjoyed a successful season with the Cardinal and Gray, transitioning from a national level swimmer to a beginner diver in October as her POTS symptoms limited her training. She progressed quickly in the sport, ultimately clinching a spot at the NCAA Diving Regional Competition, the qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships.
For more information about the walk or Dysautonomia International, visit http://www.potswalk.com