Walking across Michigan with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Kristin Coppens

| 2 min read

Imagine feeling so overwhelmingly exhausted that you cannot think straight, and most likely, cannot get out of bed. No matter how much you sleep, you still feel exhausted and you suffer from headaches, muscle weakness, and pain as well. These symptoms are a part of daily life for 20-year-old, Koerner Gray Buchta of Grand Rapids who suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
It is estimated that over 800,000 adults suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the United States, however only about 10-20 percent have received an actual diagnosis. While there is currently no known cure, doctors also have trouble diagnosing and treating as the symptoms and course of treatments change continuously in their effectiveness.
Koerner began experiencing symptoms when he was 12 years old, but did not receive his official diagnosis for five more years. He experiences constant exhaustion that was not relieved by rest, headaches, insomnia and muscle pain. Koerner dropped out of high school his freshman year when he became bedridden with his illness and remained that way for nearly two years, and stating that the illness derailed his life. He returned to school his senior year once he had begun to understand the limitations of his illness and is currently working to attend college part-time, saying that he feels more physically capable than he did two or three years ago.
As a result, Koerner vowed to raise awareness and funds for the CFIDS Association of America, which is the largest Chronic Fatigue Syndrome advocacy and research organization in the United States, by walking across the state of Michigan. He began his walk from Detroit to Holland on August 18th, 2012 and finished on November 17th, 2012. Chronicled through Koerner’s website, Facebook and Twitter, he averaged about five miles per day and mentioned that the key for him was to go very slow, noting that the walk itself helped him reach a level of acceptance towards his illness. Nevertheless, Koerner stresses that he did not want to give the impression that everyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome could do something like this. In fact, approximately 88% of people with the disease never experience remission symptoms.
Though Koerner successfully completed his walk across Michigan and is now resting and recuperating, you can still donate to the cause and help raise essential awareness to the battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
How has walking changed a part of your life?

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.