DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- A Douglas County Sheriff's deputy is battling a debilitating disease and inspiring others through his courage.
Deputy John Carrasco has multiple sclerosis. Now, he's hoping to help raise awareness about the disease by running the Boston Marathon.
"I want to make sure I'm doing this while I can because I have no idea," he said.
Carrasco is a 12-year veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. In 2012, the father of two boys noticed something wasn't right.
"I had some migraines. I went in for another MRI. That's when they officially diagnosed me with MS," said Carrasco.
Multiple sclerosis is an immunological disorder that attacks the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can include vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. There is no cure for it, but physical therapy and medication can help with symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
"I was scared. I didn't know if I was going to be able to have my job still. My wife was pregnant with my first kid when I was diagnosed. A little bit of panic set in," Carrasco said.
But he vowed to fight.
"You never know what you're capable of doing until you have to do it. Until you don't have the option of doing something else. That's when you figure out how strong you really are," he said.
Carrasco said working out has slowed the spread of multiple sclerosis.
He came up with the idea of running the Boston Marathon this April, in order to raise money for the MS Society.
"I've never done a full marathon so I figured, 'Go big or go home,'" he laughed. "I want people to see that a diagnosis of MS isn't the end of the world."
The MS Society heard his story and obtained a race waiver for the deputy.
Carrasco is running 35 miles a week for training — all the while battling numbness and pain, but he said somehow, he'll conquer the 26.2 miles.
"I try not to let things worry me that I can't control. I can't change the outcome of my disease," he said.
And now with heartbreak hill on the horizon, Carrasco said the sky's the limit.
"If this marathon goes well, I'm going to eyeball a full Iron Man. Can I do it? I don't know. There's only one way to find out."
Deputy Carrasco has already raised more than $10,000. The sheriff's office kicked in another $1,800 from a bake sale. His goal is $15,000.
If you'd like to help out, you can find his information at the Boston Marathon Strides Against MS page, or his personal page.