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Go, Grandma, Go!

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Yarmouth grandma plans to runs every street in town

YARMOUTH - Debbie Godowsky of Yarmouth will soon know every street there is in her hometown. That's because this gutsy grandma is planning to run on every one of them in hopes of bettering her granddaughter's health as well as her own.

"I need a challenge or a goal. I read something called 'Coach potato to 5K.' It's a great eight-week training program that takes you from running one minute to 30 minutes. But doing the same route can get old, so I thought I'd drive to a different part of Yarmouth and run 30 minutes in that neighborhood," Godowsky explained.

After visiting the town office for a complete street listing of Yarmouth, Godwosky discovered there are 77 streets, roads, and avenues that she'll be jaunting along, rain or shine.

"I have a big map that hangs in our mud room, and every time I come back I pick up my marker and color in the streets that I've run. Right now, I'm a third of the way through," Godowsky said.

And this grandma has a big motivator to help her complete the other two thirds of her journey - her 14-month-old granddaughter, Maren, who lives in Massachusetts.

"Maren has glycogen storage disease," she said. "Your body makes glycogen. It gets stored in the liver, and an hour or two after you've eaten, the body requires more sugar and taps into the liver for sugar. Maren's problem is the sugar goes into the liver but doesn't come out."

According to Godowsky, doctors have discovered this disease affects one in every 100,000 people.

"The only treatment is plain old cornstarch. It has to be raw cornstarch and mixed with something cold. She has to have that throughout the day," she explained.

And if Maren goes without it, her blood sugar will drop, which could result in a seizure or even a coma.

"They had to put in a gastric stomach tube because she needs it through the night as well. This is something she will have forever," Godowsky said.

Now, Godowsky is running the streets of Yarmouth to raise funds for research for glycogen storage disease.

"Initially my goal was around $2,000. I asked people to sponsor me 20 cents a mile which comes up to $15.40 if I completed all the 77 roads in Yarmouth," she said. "Then people started emailing me back and sponsoring me 50 cents a mile or $1 a mile. I'm now at about 200 donors and hopeful I'll raise $5,000."

Godowsky says what she's doing is turning out to be a win-win for both her and her granddaughter.

"This is a way I can show my support. It's a healthy thing I'm doing so I get to win, and my granddaughter down the road will hopefully win when we find a better treatment than having to wake her up in the middle of the night [to give her cornstarch] to live."

If you'd like to support Debbie Godowsky and her fundraising efforts for glycogen storage disease research, email her at debbiegodowsky @


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