Local News

Wendell Youth Races To Raise Money, Help Others

Posted April 29, 2001 4:43 a.m. EDT

— A serious disease can drive some people to give up and some people to give back. A Wendell boy is giving back at 55 miles per hour, and hopes to raise money to help others while setting a record in his go-kart.

Andrew Christiansen has Guillain-Barr? Syndrome.

Guillain-Barr? is a disorder that causes weakness and possibly paralysis of muscles of the legs, arms, and other parts of the body, as well as abnormal sensations. It often follows a virus.

"He wasn't supposed to be able to play baseball or go to a mainline school [and] certainly nothing like what he's doing now,' says Christiansen.

His parents kept the diagnosis a secret, and Andrew took a liking to go-karts.

"It's exciting and scary at some points," he says.

Andrew races almost every weekend, and he has a record in mind: "[I'd like to] set the record for the world's longest go-kart ride."

The current record is 13 hours and 49 minutes. Andrew wants to raise that to 15 hours.

Andrew and his father are more focused on fund-raising, though: they have raised over $5,000 for the Duke's Childrens Hospital, and hope to raise $15,000 on the day of his world-record attempt.

"I want to give back," says Andrew. "They helped me so much when I was in the hospital."

"I believe that you should never say no to a child," says his father. "If you tell a child you'll never be able to do anything, he'll never try. And if he never tries, he'll never reach his potential."