In 2006, Shane James faced death. Stiff Persons Syndrome, a rare disease that affects one in a million, was destroying his muscle at a devastating rate. He had only one way to save his own life: running.
Shane, a native Tasmanian, discovered he had a broken back in 2006, the cause a mystery. At the same time, he suddenly was racked with severe muscle spasms and seizures. Shane endured a life of hell for 18 months until he was diagnosed with Moersch-Woltman Disease (also known as Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS)). A rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease, there is no cure and no understanding of its origins. Losing half his body weight, and sent to live a shortened life in a wheelchair with pain meds by his side, Shane had an epiphany one day, struggling to walk along the beach near his home with the aid of a walking stick he called “Lance.” He would fight back.
And fight back he did, trusting his intuition that learning to walk again, and then run, would do more good than bad. Working through immense pain, he broke through MWD barrier after barrier, to the point that he decided to fulfill a life dream and run the Boston Marathon. In 2011, he did it. In 2012, he did it again, this time placing second in the mobility impaired division. Since then, he ran his first official ultra, a 100 miler, in 21:25! Shane still runs through pain – what ultra runner doesn’t? – but in his case, the pain weakens MWD and at the finish line, he feels more than an endorphin rush. He feels victorious over MWD and extremely happy to have a second chance at life.
Read more about Shane and his story on run-to-live.com