It started with Glenn Råna going to Galdhøpiggen this summer. He climbed Norway’s highest mountain with his two brothers, Christian and Tommy. A bloodbath without equal for the ALS sufferer, which he will never forget. Now the man from Arendal will challenge himself again.
On Saturday, Glenn will run ten kilometers at the Oslo Marathon.
The challenge will be very demanding for the 44-year-old.
– My condition has deteriorated greatly since we last saw each other. I’ll have to use poles and rails during the race. But I will not run alone, says Glenn to Dagbladet.
Dagbladet met Glenn six weeks ago. His strengths have weakened considerably since the last meeting.
The gruesome message
The father of three received the gruesome message that he has ALS a few months ago.
There are no medications on the market that can make him well again. The average life expectancy after being diagnosed with ALS is two to three years.
When you receive such a message, many people go into the basement, in a dark sea of despair and horror. Glenn has previously spoken to Dagbladet about him doing the same.
But after a few days, Glenn decided on one thing. He will do his utmost to live as much as possible, and defy the disease, as long as he has the opportunity.
– I will not live my last years in depression. I will do my best to live with a smile on my face, with my dear children and wife around me, Glenn told Dagbladet this summer.
He was with his wife when he was confirmed to have ALS in June. They kept the message of illness for several days before sitting down with their 19-year-old daughter and the seven-year-old twins. Glenn wanted to gather himself, and lay out a battle plan for how he would deliver the terrible news.
When Glenn finally took the talk, it became emotional and painful, but he made it very clear to his family: As long as he lives, he will hunt for bright spots.
Next challenge Saturday
Glenn has previously made it clear that he will not just run for himself, during Saturday’s ten kilometers. He wants to focus on mental health around people with serious fatal diseases.
– I hope more come, who will support the psyche of people with serious illnesses, not necessarily just ALS. You can do something nice and challenge yourself, even if you have been sentenced to death. It helps extremely much, gives extremely much.
– In my entourage, my daughter will be and around 15 to 20 others. Together we will get through this, says Glenn.
– Several locals have printed T-shirts that we will run in, and I have prepared poles and rails for the legs, so that we reach the finish line in less than two hours, Glenn says to Dagbladet a few days before the race.
Dagbladet has been in contact with the Oslo Marathon and press manager Stine Hartmann says that there is a time limit of the ten-kilometer distance of two hours. If you are still on the track after two hours, it is standard that you are taken out of the race.
– My physical strength right now indicates that I will meet the deadline, says Glenn.
Glenn’s body is going to get worse. There’s nothing he can do about it. But even if he can not challenge himself physically to the same degree in the future, he will still enjoy the parts of life that can be enjoyed.
– I’m planning to travel. I want to go to more concerts, and live life to the fullest, says the 44-year-old.
– Chose to go all the way
Glenn is fully aware of what the future will look like for him in terms of illness. Whether it takes three years, or 15 years, the disease will take its toll on him.
– Can you tell us something about what the course of the disease will look like for you?
– I will gradually get worse. My muscles are affected and will become weaker. Eventually I will not be able to walk at all and will end up in a wheelchair, until I finally will not be able to eat food, or breathe myself.
– But I have chosen to go all the way, because I want to live as long as possible, for the sake of the family, says Råna.
ALS is a serious disease and according to Lommelegen there is no treatment that cures the disease.
– The average lifespan from the diagnosis is 2-3 years. But 10-15 percent live more than ten years, says Ole-Bjørn Tysnes, professor and neurologist at Haukeland University Hospital, to Lommelegen.
ALS affects 2-3 people per 100,000 inhabitants in Norway every year.
This is ALS:
- Amyotrophic means muscle wasting. With ALS, the muscles become smaller and weaker.
- Lateral means “next to”. This word refers to the side strands in the spinal cord being damaged by this disease. In the lateral strands of the spinal cord are nerve fibers that bring nerve impulses to the muscles.
- Sclerosis means scar tissue. With ALS, nerve cells disappear, and scar tissue is formed instead.
The disease normally occurs around the age of 60, but can also affect earlier.