West Hempstead resident Krissy Diaz, 25, suffers from a rare genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis Type II, or NF-2 for short,
The disease creates benign tumors throughout the body, and Diaz has been deaf since she was 18. Because of the disease, she has suffered through numerous painful operations to remove tumors from her head and her back, and her face is now paralyzed.
Her big brother, John, 27, a New York City Police Department officer in East New York, Brooklyn, wanted to do something to raise awareness of his sister’s disease — and to raise money for research, hoping that someday there will be a cure.
“She has been an inspiration to me all my life,” John told the Herald. “Despite the NF-2, there is nothing that slows her down. She is my positive role model.”
Both he and Krissy are recreational runners, and although he is busy with work and studying for the sergeant’s exam, he decided to run in the New York City half-marathon last Sunday. He ran both for his sister and to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a New York City nonprofit that supports research into the causes of NF-2.
“Krissy wants to be an art therapist,” John said. “She has her master’s and is waiting for state certification. She is in the middle of the process, and nothing will stop her from achieving her goal.”
She volunteers at the Queens Museum and at St. Mary’s Hospital in Queens.
Though he said he is not a serious runner, John has run three half-marathons and a few 10K races. He finished on Sunday, though nowhere near the front of the pack.
“I just wanted to honor my sister and bring awareness about NF-2 and the Children ‘s Tumor Foundation,” he said. “I’m proud and honored to do just that.”
Krissy, a former marathoner, sat this race out, watching her older brother from the sidelines.
“I had to do this for her,” John said. “After all, she’s still is my little sister.”