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A Reunion Weekend to Inspire: Andrea Peet’s Brave Journey and Lessons Learned

by | Jun 2, 2023

In May, Andrea Lytle Peet ’03 became the first person with ALS to complete 50 marathons in 50 states.


Author: Mary Elizabeth DeAngelis

As Davidson College alumni gather to celebrate their reunions this weekend, the Class of 2003 will celebrate their 20th with a member whose brave race against ALS inspired a new documentary and book.

Andrea Lytle Peet ’03, her husband, David Peet ’05, and Political Science Professor Ken Menkhaus joined for a Friday afternoon presentation that included a short trailer from the documentary, Go On, Be Brave.

The film follows Andrea Peet’s journey as the first person with ALS to complete a marathon in all 50 of America’s states. The former runner achieved that goal in Alaska last year, working her way through rigorous courses on a recumbent trike.

Peet has also written a book, Hope Fights Back (Pegasus Books/Simon & Schuster),with Meredith Atwood. It will be released in September.

And save the date of Oct. 12 for a screening of the documentary at the college. Main Street Books will host an author event with Peet before the screening.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that afflicts an estimated 15,000 Americans. It’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Peet was first diagnosed in 2014; Menkhaus, the college’s C. Louis Nelson Political Science Professor, in 2018.

Both became advocates. Andrea and David Peet founded Team Drea, a non-profit that has raised more than a million dollars for ALS research. Menkhaus serves on the Board of Trustees for the ALS Association.

Their presentation, “Advocacy from a Different Angle: Life with ALS,” will be part of the reunion’s faculty-led classes. It will explore the challenges, refocused priorities and quest to make a difference while living with a terminal illness. It’s scheduled from 4-5 p.m. in Room 210 of the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center.

“I cannot wait to see my classmates from Davidson,” Peet said. “When I saw everyone at our 15th reunion, I doubted that I would live long enough to make it to our 20th.  I am so grateful that I was wrong, and it just reminds me of how much of a gift it is to see them again.”

Additional Stories

Racing Time: Andrea Lytle Peet ’03 (Davidson Journal magazine)

Embracing Time: Professor Advocates for the Next Generation (Davidson Journal magazine)

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