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,