Nightly News   |  October 26, 2011

Running to raise money for Parkinson’s research

Sam Fox, 23, has run roughly 100 marathons and 41 miles per day for two months to raise a quarter of a million dollars in honor of his mother Lucy, who has Parkinson’s disease. NBC’s Amy Robach has the story.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally here tonight, imagine running 42 miles a day. That's what a son has just done to demonstrate his devotion to his own mother, and along the way to make a difference for a lot of other people. His story tonight from NBC 's Amy Robach .

AMY ROBACH reporting: Twenty-three -year-old Sam Fox is stretching his world to an unthinkable limit in the run of a lifetime.

Mr. SAM FOX: I'm doing this for my mother. I'm doing this to honor her, to thank her for everything she's done for me.

ROBACH: In a grand gesture of a son's love, Sam finished what many could not, the Pacific Crest Trail , a 2,650 mile knee-buckling challenge from Canada to Mexico . Along the way, he raised $150,000 for Parkinson 's research. His mother, Lucy , suffers from the disease.

LUCY: I think it's gradual for most people and it certainly is for me, so it's not a -- you don't wake up one morning and suddenly not be able to do things.

ROBACH: While her son hammered his way through the wilderness, Lucy worried about the hard road ahead.

LUCY: I really hate to see him suffer. I knew he would, but I still hate to see him suffer.

ROBACH: Sam has always had an appetite to live on the edge. Fewer people have successfully completed the trail than have reached the summit of Mount Everest . His effort is being captured in "Run While You Can," a documentary film.

Mr. FOX: It's hot and dry. My feet hurt. My body's, ah, feels like it's giving up. I got to get -- I got to get to that rest spot. Fifty-five hours off schedule, which is sort of the least of my problems. I'm moving a lot slower.

ROBACH: Lucy was diagnosed with Parkinson 's 10 years ago but raised her children on high adventure and exotic travel. It was parenting with a purpose.

LUCY: My job as a mother was to raise my kids up to a state of independence. And you hope that state of independence and everything else combines to make a really good human being.

ROBACH: Side by side, mother and son ended the journey together.

Mr. FOX: My mother inspires me simply by continuing to go about her everyday life with minimal change, despite a debilitating disease.

ROBACH: Making the finish that much sweeter. Amy Robach , NBC News.