CDCR Assistant Secretary runs 196 miles across desert for charity

Patrick McKinney’s sister suffers from multiple sclerosis

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Photos by Laura Casner and Myke Hermsmeyer, MS Run the US

Those afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS) can find it difficult to perform basic tasks or even walk to another room. To help find a cure for the debilitating disease, one CDCR leader put on his running shoes.

Patrick McKinney, CDCR’s General Counsel/Assistant Secretary for the Office of Legal Affairs, raised over $12,000 to take part in a running relay across America with non-profit MS Run the US.

“I ran over 196 miles in eight days from Barstow to Las Vegas,” he said. “I’m still a little tired.”

McKinney’s portion of the run was part of a larger 3,000-mile relay stretching from Los Angeles to New York. He began at 1,977 feet and the highest peak on his run was 4,293 feet in the Mojave National Preserve. He gained 7,581 feet over the course of the run.

Why put his body through such a grueling run through the desert? Raising money to find a cure for MS is personal.

“My sister was diagnosed with MS in 2011,” he said.

The difficulty of the run took him by surprise.

“I underestimated how harsh the conditions in the desert are,” he admitted. “We camped along the way (and) I had an amazing support crew. I ran on historic Route 66 for three of the eight days. It was an incredible landscape. It was very harsh and no shade. It was desolate out there.”

McKinney would typically start his run near sunrise and stop before the heat of the day became too intense, followed by a focused recovery to get ready for the next day.  He was supported by a crew and they camped each night in the MS Run the US RV.  His leg of the run is documented on the organization’s Facebook page and website.

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)

See his fundraising page,

See the run’s Facebook page,

What is MS?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the CNS. MS can cause many symptoms including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, blindness and more. These problems may come and go or persist and worsen over time. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it.”

Learn more,


18 Responses

  1. rod Wednesday, March 22, 2017 / 11:31 am

    Good job! What a stud! God bless you and yours with health and peace!

  2. Cathy Sherman Wednesday, March 22, 2017 / 9:07 am

    What a wonderful act of showmanship. Congratulations on your accomplishment.

  3. T Bratcher Friday, May 20, 2016 / 9:05 am

    Wow… what a wonderful story and an amazing accomplishment. Your sister must be proud!

  4. Mona Forbes Wednesday, May 18, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    God bless you in your fight for your sister and MS. The love you have for your sister to endure so much. Thank You for bringing awareness to MS. God bless you and your family!

  5. Earl "Mac" Chambers Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Congrats on the run and welcome to the MS Run the US Alumni family (x2 runner myself).

  6. Linda Hamilton Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    Wow, Patrick! Congratulations on completing the run. You are an inspiration to me.

  7. Lili Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Wow, what an amazing story! Congratulations to a real trooper. God bless you, your sister and your team.

  8. P. Marin Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    You are awesome!

  9. MILI Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 11:02 am

    “Action speaks louder than words”. Thank you for such an amazing and inspirational journey through the desert with one goal in mind, to find a cure for MS. Your sister is very lucky to have you as a brother. I know that many of us have taken steps to supporting a cause but you took it to a different level. Kudos to you and your team.

  10. D/CMF Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 10:55 am

    What a run, you’ve got guts! Something to be proud of, and even more so because you did it for such a worthy cause.

  11. J.D. Bartnik Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 10:05 am

    I’ve trained in the Army at the national training center in the Barstow area. I know from first-hand experience how bad the conditions are like there. For you to run that distance in that heat is truly commendable. What you did for your sister and other people with MS … great job!

  12. Karen Bains Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 9:52 am

    What an inspiring story! Thank you for your heartfelt compassion for others and raising money to help find a cure for MS. I had a dear friend diagnosed with MS and watched how this disease affected her life.

  13. D. Sellers Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 9:23 am

    I really want to thank you for your continued support in the fight to find a cure for this horrible disease. Like so many others, raising money to find a cure for MS is also personal. My mother was diagnosed with MS in 2013, it has been quite a struggle. Again, thank you so very much.

  14. Kathy Gustafson Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 9:18 am

    I appreciate all you have done. What an amazing accomplishment. I also have a sibling with MS and know the challenges it holds for them. Thank YOU!

  15. Martinez, Anita Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 9:06 am

    That is AWESOME! Thank you.

  16. Nic Solberg Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 9:02 am

    Amazing achievement. It’s like a Forrest Gump moment, sans the beard, but with a cause. Kudos!!!

  17. David Whitford Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Thank you for all you’re doing. That’s quite a feat! I support the National MS Society through the Bike MS Program. I ride for my Mother who died from MS in 1984, a family friend, Jacob (diagnosed at age 18) and for myself (diagnosed at age 53).

  18. Valerie Estrella Tuesday, May 17, 2016 / 8:29 am

    Congratulations on your achievement. That’s such an amazing accomplishment. Thank you for your dedication to a worthy cause.

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