Skip to main content

NFE Athlete Spotlight: Chuck Dolish

I was diagnosed [with NF1] soon after the pediatrician noticed multiple café-au-lait spots and pointed them out to my mom, simply saying, “These could be related to a neurological disorder known as neurofibromatosis.” And he was right.

When I was just four, I “caught‟ a baseball in my right eye and subsequently, after seeing an ophthalmologist, was diagnosed with an optic glioma. That led my parents to Texas Children’s Hospital where Dr. Vincent Riccardi, a world renown expert in NF, answered all of our questions. Do not operate but monitor the optic glioma. The hyper-pigmentation on my left hand and wrist was, in fact, a plexiform neurofibroma. And yes, I was diagnosed at a preschool age with learning delays.

My school years through high school were traumatizing socially, but quite successful academically. I preserved with such determination to overcome my dyslexia and graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. Although my SATs were read to me, I was accepted into college and thrived. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Parks and Recreation Management. My journey had some disappointments and setbacks, but the support of my family and the belief in myself always made me wake up to a new day with a smile on my face. That’s just who I am.

In 2007 my brother brought to my attention the NF Endurance team at the Children’s Tumor Foundation. I ran my first marathon with my brother and sister raising awareness and money for CTF. Since that year, I run the Flying Pig Marathon every year for CTF.

Why do I keep running? It’s quite simple. I feel blessed that my optic glioma has never changed, my plexiform neurofibroma, although growing, has never interfered with the use of my hand, and technology has greatly assisted with my dyslexia. I am one of the more fortunate ones. That is something I truly believe.

My life’s goal is to continue raising awareness and monies for CTF. As far as advice to other athletes: Never give up, never give in, and never quit. I believe there is a cure in my lifetime. My mantra: “Begin the day with a lion’s roar and end with a kitten’s purr.”

Since joining the NF Endurance team, Chuck has raised $8,500 to support our mission to fund critical NF research and, one day, end NF. Visit for a list of upcoming events or to learn about Choose Your Own Challenge.