Duke Children's Hospital and Health CenterThe Florence Forth race is organized by the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance in partnership with Bull City Running Company and other generous sponsors.

Proceeds from Florence Forth will allow the Alliance to support Duke Children’s Hospital in development of the first autoimmune encephalitis center of excellence. The Alliance was founded December 2012 as a North Carolina nonprofit organization and currently has an application pending for IRS 501c3 status.

About The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance

SuperFlorenceThe Alliance was founded by Leslie and Will McDow, who lost their daughter Florence on March 4th, 2012 after a long battle with autoimmune encephalitis.

Autoimmune encephalitis is a rare and serious condition in which the immune system attacks the brain, resulting in impaired brain function.  The impairment may be reversible but may also result in permanent brain injury or even death.

Leslie, Will and big sister Laura McDow named the race Florence Forth to commemorate the day that six-year-old Florence died: March Fourth. Inspired by “the day that is also a command,” they heard a charge to accelerate the search for a cure, provide care to affected families and form a community of collaboration and concern.

The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance connects families, doctors and communities to improve the lives of children by coordinating care, treatment and research across medical disciplines. In 2013, the Alliance will launch a Centers of Excellence campaign with three goals: to establish clinical standards of care across medical disciplines; to coordinate basic and clinical research efforts; and, to raise awareness and connect families so nobody faces Autoimmune Encephalitis alone.