ABOUT

ABOUT ANDREA

By 2013, I had run a marathon and done 9 triathlons, including a 70.3-mile half Ironman.

In 4 months I went from the strongest I’d ever been to walking with a cane – and I was diagnosed with ALS in May 2014, at the age of 33.

So what do you do when you’re told that you’re going to die in the next 2-5 years? That there is no treatment and no cure.

And that before you die, you will lose the ability to walk, talk, move, eat, and breathe?

My husband and I had just bought a house. We were planning to start a family.

I realized is that if there was something I really wanted to do – I needed to do it now.

We bought a recumbent trike and I signed up for my “last” triathlon, which became the most extraordinary day of my life as more than a hundred people stayed to cheer us in.

Since most people with ALS die between 2-5 years, reaching my 5th anniversary in May 2019 felt like a huge milestone. But I realized there’s a big difference between ‘not dying’ and LIVING. So I decided to take on the craziest goal I could think of — a marathon in all 50 states. At the time, I was at state #7.

The journey that followed was harder and more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. States that were just checkboxes on my way to 50 became places, people, memories that I will always treasure.

Being outside, feeling my muscles move, breathing hard… these are all things I should have lost by now. These simple joys are denied to people with ALS as they are forced to watch themselves die, muscle by muscle. I never forget that.

In May 2022, surrounded by my friends and family, on a remote island in Alaska, I became the first person with ALS to do 50 marathons in all 50 states.

I hope my journey inspires you to go on and be brave.

MEDIA COVERAGE

For media inquiries: please contact Annie at annie@teamdrea.org.

Selected videos/articles:

11/27/23: Andrea Lytle Peet: Racing Against ALS, Runner’s World magazine, 2023 Runners of the Year edition

10/19/23: Sportskind, USA Today

09/05/23: Author shares journey living with ALS, GMA3

06/05/22: Woman competes in 50 marathons in 50 states to raise awareness for ALS, abc World News Tonight, #AmericaStrong

05/28/22: Her Race Against A.L.S.: 50 Marathons in 50 States, New York Times

01/04/22: Racing Time: Andrea Peet ’03, Davidson College Journal

08/28/20: Neither ALS nor a pandemic will crush her dream of completing a marathon in each state, News & Observer

02/19/20: New Google technology is helping people with ALS record their voices, Today Show

07/24/17: Three years after the Ice Bucket Challenge and an ALS diagnosis, this marathoner is still competing, ESPN-W

ABOUT THE TEAM DREA FOUNDATION

History:

Andrea Lytle Peet created Team Drea in 2015 when friends kept remarking that her story had inspired them to take on a big challenge – an Ironman, a half marathon, a triathlon. She encouraged friends and family to take on a race that represented a challenge to them and use it as an opportunity to raise money for ALS research. In October 2016, Andrea and her husband David incorporated the Team Drea Foundation as a 501(c)(3) in order to leverage the momentum they have built thus far, and to maximize the flexibility of their support to invest in the most promising ALS research on the horizon.

Mission:

The Team Drea Foundation supports bold, innovative research to find a cure or effective treatment for ALS. We see raising awareness about this devastating disease as an opportunity to inspire people to live bravely, love joyfully, and appreciate the gift of life.

Research We Support:

At this time, Team Drea supports two organizations that are passionately dedicated to research. They keep their overhead costs low and innovation high.

ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)

ALS TDI is the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech firm. The organization focuses on pre-clinical research to be a drug discovery engine for ALS treatment. In 2018, ALS TDI became the first nonprofit in any disease to have a drug enter human clinical trials.

Andrea is participating in their Precision Medicine Program, which is using her blood and skin tissue to look for biomarkers and create a stem cell line to study the mechanisms of the disease and screen potential treatments from already approved medical compounds.

Andrea is a national ambassador for ALS TDI and received the Stephen Heywood Patient Today Award in 2016.

Duke University

Under the direction of Andrea’s doctor, the world-renown neurologist Dr. Richard Bedlack, Duke is performing cutting-edge research on off-label or alternative treatments for ALS: essentially, a scientific evaluation of supplements or therapeutics that ALS patients are trying in the absence of effective treatments in mainstream medicine.

Dr. Bedlack is also studying extremely rare cases of ALS reversals – 50+ people whose ALS symptoms have actually gone away. The approach was successful in HIV/AIDS when doctors began studying HIV patients who never developed full-blown AIDS. They discovered a common genetic link, a protein, that could be synthetically manufactured and added to the treatment cocktail.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

David Peet

Chair
David is Andrea’s husband, caregiver, cheerleader, and biggest champion. When he is not scheming with Andrea about a new project or doing his best to keep up with her while she is in the trike, he is working as an attorney from their home in North Carolina, his office at Red Hat, or traveling to work with clients in Latin America. He is proud to serve as a national ambassador for ALS TDI and as a resource for caregivers and people with ALS in need.

Angela McMillen Ayres

Vice Chair
Angela lost a daughter, Lisa McMillen, to ALS in 2015, just two days after Lisa and her twin sister (pictured above), Kat’s 32nd birthday. Prior to resigning to care for Lisa full-time, Angela was Executive Director of the American Association of Political Consultants in DC. Before that, she raised her 4 kids in Akron, OH and was involved in state/local politics there. Angela intends to carry on the work to defeat ALS in Lisa’s honor.

Ashley Griffith Kollme/Doug Kollme

Secretary/Treasurer
Ashley Kollme is an education consultant with a background higher education and nonprofit fundraising. She has previous experience as a Developmental Director and currently serves on the boards of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation and Perry Street Prep Charter School. Ashley, Andrea, and Dave met as teammates on the club crew team at Davidson College. Ashely is a speed demon, often winning 5k events she enters.

Doug has 20 years of experience in commercial banking, investment banking, and mergers & acquisitions, with more than 15 years as a CFO in the government contracting sector. When he is not chasing he and Ashley’s four kids around, he enjoys getting out for a run himself.

Jason Biggs

Jason Biggs is co-owner of FS Series, a Triangle-based triathlon and running race company that has embraced the Team Drea Foundation as a charity partner. Jason holds degrees in Sports Management and Technology Education from NC State University. When he isn’t on the megaphone or working behind the scenes at a race, Jason competes in running events, NC Cyclocross, and is a 3-time Ironman.

Jillaine Baker

Jillaine Baker is a licensed clinical social worker and the Associate Director of Quality Assurance at the Center for START Services. She has over 13 years of experience working with individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and has served on multiple boards within the Triangle. Jillaine lost her mother to ALS in 2009. After running her first fundraising marathon in 2014 she was connected to Andrea and has been running to raise awareness and funds for The Team Drea Foundation ever since. She lives in Durham, NC with her husband and two young daughters.

Ann Bowen

Ann Bowen has over 15 years of experience in the non- profit sector, most recently as the Director of Development
for The Williams School in Norfolk, VA. Ann has worked in development, nonprofit management, and donor relations, and was sole proprietor of a grant writing and nonprofit consulting business, Charnwood Consulting, LLC. Ann has an MPA, with an emphasis in nonprofit management, from UNC-CH. Ann and her husband, Byers, are 2005 graduates of Davidson College. Ann has completed two half marathons in Andrea’s honor. Ann, Byers, and their twins live in Norfolk,VA.

Elizabeth Spitz

Ever since their days as roommates at Davidson College, Elizabeth Spitz has always been there for Andrea. When Team Drea
was created in 2015, Elizabeth started running, adopted the sport of triathlon, and worked her way up to an Ironman in 2021. She routinely takes on the hardest and most thankless Team Drea tasks, such as managing the online store. Elizabeth is a physician assitant-certified in general surgery at the VA in Charleston, SC and teaches at MUSC.

Annie Lusk

Special Initiatives Coordinator
Annie Lusk serves as the Team Drea Foundation’s new Special Initiatives Coordinator. Annie and Andrea met at Enloe High School marching band camp in 1995. They have supported each other unconditionally through the years, including while living in Atlanta. In the past, Annie has used her artistic background and organizational skills as a volunteer for Team Drea. In this new role, Annie has already proven indispensable with social media, planning documentary screenings, and reducing Andrea’s stress level by pitching in everywhere with her sweet, can-do spirit. Annie lives in Rolesville, NC with her husband and daughter.
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