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An Inspiration: Towson Woman Aims To Complete New York Marathon Despite Respiratory Condition

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Ask anyone who's run a marathon or tried to about how hard it is and you'll likely hear quite a story. Now imagine if only one-third of your lungs were working.

Mary Kitlowski, a Towson woman, will attempt to finish this weekend's New York Marathon.

"It's called Primary ciliary dyskinesia," she said.

Primary ciliary dyskinesia is a disorder characterized by chronic respiratory tract infections

Even though her lungs are only working at one-third normal capacity, on most days, she heads to the YMCA in Towson.

Mile after mile, her husband, Ed, carries batteries for her oxygen generator, not only for training but for the entire 26 miles Saturday.

"His job is to carry the batteries and make sure I make it across the finish line," she said.

It's a line she has yet to cross. Two years ago, she dropped out six miles from the finish.

Her training is done and she and Ed have left for the marathon. Before they left, however, the Y in Towson where she trained had a going away sendoff and a gift: a custom jacket with the Y's logo.

"Part of what is pushing and motivating me is for everybody who is dealing with something like this whether they're on oxygen or not," Kitlowski said.

Her journey is motivating more than just those who have similar conditions.

"That's one of the things about the Y is we help people become stronger," said Amy Gantz-Cheatham, the executive director of the Towson YMCA.

"She's an inspiration?" reporter Mike Schuh asked?

"Yes she is, most definitely, for all of us," Gantz-Cheatham said.

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