University of Wisconsin–Madison

Whirling the Waisman Way with Team Tristan

Picture a crisp October morning in Madison, Wisconsin – the bright colors of fall leaves, mists over the blue waters of Lake Mendota and – on one Sunday (the 14th this year) – a crowd of excited people waiting to run, walk or roll in the 2018 Waisman Whirl for ALL Abilities!

In among the crowd gathered at the Waisman Whirl – last year there were more than 300 participants – you would spot a large group of people decked out in blue.

Meet Team Tristan, the biggest team participating in the Waisman Whirl.

Members of Team Tristan are family and friends who have come from all over Wisconsin (and beyond) to support Tristan Brahmer. Tristan is 15 years old and has Alexander disease, a rare neurological disorder with no known cure.

“It is very exciting to see family and friends come together for Tristan,” says Mindy Brahmer, Tristan’s mother and a key organizer of Team Tristan. “It is a truly emotional experience to see all the love and support for him.”

Members of Team Tristan help raise awareness about Alexander disease, and not just at the Waisman Whirl.

“We often wear our team t-shirts from the Whirl to other places,” says Brahmer. “People often come up to us and ask questions, and this way we spread awareness.”

Along with raising awareness, Team Tristan is also helping raise funds to support research on Alexander disease.

Waisman Center investigator Albee Messing is one of the world’s foremost researchers working to better understand Alexander disease and develop novel therapies.

In fact, Messing and colleagues recently reported promising results in the lab and in animal models that could set the stage for developing a new treatment for Alexander disease.

And he walks the Waisman Whirl.

“It was very exciting to meet Dr. Messing,” says Brahmer. “He was always the ‘man behind the scenes’ and it was amazing to get to interact with him.”

Team Tristan will be part of fourth annual Waisman Whirl 10k, 5k and 1 mile Run, Walk & Roll for All Abilities on Sunday, October 14th. The event will start and finish at the Waisman Center and proceeds will benefit individuals and families affected by developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases, including Tristan.

Won’t you join them? (You can register online by clicking here!)