USMES Triathlete Debora Pfaff Fights Gulf War Illness
USMES Bend, OR – August 17, 2018 – Whether representing the US in international competition or mentoring new athletes, the members of US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) assume a leadership role in their communities. USMES is proud to announce that team member and IRONMAN triathlete Debora Pfaff is now leading the way to better care for Gulf War Illness (GWI) by raising money for bio-marker technology at the Mt. Sinai Pain and Fatigue Study Center.
Debora Pfaff works for the Department of Defense as Chief Operating Officer at the National Intelligence University, where she designs and implements training for intelligence analysts. In 2009, Debora deployed to Iraq as an Intelligence Officer. “Like one-third of my military brethren who served in Southwest Asia, I developed Gulf War Illness (GWI),” said Debora. “I have been extraordinarily lucky; despite having been diagnosed with eight major chronic conditions — some of them fatal if left untreated — I can now live a relatively normal life. This is thanks to two things: Dr. Benjamin Natelson at Mt. Sinai, and my dedication to physical fitness.” Despite her illness, Debora continues to train and compete in full and half IRONMAN triathlons, saying “triathlon training literally saved my life. And it’s given me a quality of life that other GWI sufferers who have ‘better numbers’ than me just don’t have.”
Dr. Natelson needs a $30,000 piece of technology called a Reversed Phase Capillary Liquid Chromatography machine to study spinal fluid in GWI patients like Debora. To raise money, next month Debora will race the SavageMan Triathlon, despite having lung function of just 56.9% of a normal person her age. SavageMan consists of a 1 mile swim, 67 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run and is the home of the Westernport Wall, a 31.5% grade, ¼ mile long hill.
“USMES salutes members like Debora Pfaff, who are taking initiative to improve the lives of Americans who have served our country,” said acting USMES Executive Director Mandy Midgett. “While many on our team are directly or indirectly affected by GWI and can benefit from Debora’s efforts, Debora is raising funds for technology that will also help military and civilians with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and even Lyme. We encourage everyone to visit Debora’s Mt. Sinai fundraising page and help meet this need.”
Debora is hoping that her dedication and physical progress despite GWI will inspire others to donate money for the technology on her Mount Sinai fundraising page. “If you make it up the SavageMan Westernport Wall without falling off your bike, you get your name on a brick placed in the road,” said Deborah. “I’d like to leave a mark even more lasting than that brick.”
About US Military Endurance Sports
US Military Endurance Sports (USMES), a division of American Servicemembers Amateur Sports (ASAS) Inc, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization chartered to support amateur athletes, endurance sports education and activities for current, retired, and Veteran members of the United States Armed Forces. The mission of USMES is to promote endurance sports as part of a healthy lifestyle to active and Veteran members of America’s Uniformed Services. usmes.org
The US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) program, a division of American Servicemembers Amateur Sports Inc. (ASAS), is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization chartered to support amateur athletes, endurance sports education and activities for current, retired, and veteran members of the United States Armed Forces.