Why he runs: Dad conquers Austin Marathon for 15th time to honor his sons

Austin Marathon

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It started with a life-changing diagnosis.

“We quickly found out that it was a 100% fatal and there was no cure,” explained Tim Revell.

The Leander dad of two said his son, Timothy, was just two-years-old when he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“When you get a diagnosis for your child, it’s devastating.”

The disease is described as one that breaks down muscle tissue. It comes from a defective gene that doesn’t produce a key protein that helps muscles, resulting in damaged cells. It’s deadly, because it can ultimately lead to heart or breathing failure. The nature of the disease meant that by default, his younger son would have it as well.

“You can either go two ways, either it overcomes you, or you take action and respond,” Revell said, adding that he and his wife, Laura, were not going to let it overcome their family. The disease affects girls as well, but boys diagnosed with the disease are historically in wheelchairs by the age of seven or eight.

“You quickly find out that your life is changed forever and it’s altered and if you’re going to respond by trying to give your child a great life, you have to find out all the details that go into care taking.”

The Revell family celebrates an Austin Marathon victory. (Photo: Tim Revell)

Laura homeschools their sons, Andrew and Timothy. They spend a lot of their time helping them do tasks that most people don’t even think twice about — like getting up off the floor, putting their clothes on, showering and getting in and out of the car.

Their now 16-year-old son, Timothy, is at the point of having difficulty standing.

But the Revell’s took the news and turned it into a cause.

Through their learning about the disease, they quickly found out that the research and the funding was not at the high level they wanted it to be. That was when Laura approached her husband about running in an Austin Marathon.

“It’s really extreme and we’ll see if we can raise some money,” Laura told him. “It’s to give them hope and give them the same drive and to keep pushing through life.”

Tim started his training and they found a cause, CureDuchenne.

The organization prides itself on being a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for increasing the quality and quantity of the lives of those diagnosed with the deadly disease.

The first year he ran, he helped raise nearly $15,000.

“We thought it was a great thing and it created momentum and it created in a sense of hope for Laura and I and our future because we felt like we could actually have an impact for these boys that before then, there wasn’t a lot of hope,” Tim said.

“It’s special ’cause it’s helped us walk through the things we’re going through and has given us a focus and that we’re not just doing it for ourselves but for everyone that is going through the same thing,” Lauren added.

Fifteen years later, he’s preparing for the Austin Marathon and will be adding to the thousands of dollars he’s raised already. The organization has become an official sponsor for the race.

Laura, Tim, Andrew and Timothy Revell pose for a family photo. (Photo: Tim Revell)

“My boys they’ve aged now and their mobility is starting to fade,” Revell said. “This disease deteriorates their muscle tissue and a robs them of their life.” But what gets him up and out of bed everyday, when he doesn’t want to run and the weather is bad, is his boys.

“It’s taxing. It’s tiring. It takes effort and determination. It takes mental toughness. It takes heart and perseverance to cross that finish line every single year, but whenever I see my children and every year they know the race is coming and they light up and they’re talking about it and saying ‘Daddy you’re going to run for us again, right?’ and then that night after the race I put them to bed and their like ‘Daddy you’re doing it again next year, right?’ because they know it’s for them and it’s a dedication for them.”

Tim Revell

The ambitious runner will be wearing a custom shirt, with a photo of his two boys and with the slogan, “For Boys Who Can’t.”

“I’ll be there for you,” Timothy told his dad about cheering him on during the race.

“I like seeing dad have a good time crossing the finish line,” added Andrew.

WATCH: Dad carries sons across the finish line of Austin Marathon

Both boys will cross the finish line, hopefully hand-in-hand, with their dad this Sunday, Feb. 16. Then, they’ll indulge in their favorite tradition, celebrating with Oreo cookies.

To donate to CureDuchenne, click here.

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