Warning! Spoilers for Run below.

In Run, Chloe (Kiera Allen) is said to have five serious illnesses — asthma, diabetes, arrhythmia, hemochromatosis, and paralysis. Portraying five illnesses is one character is quite the load. Hallmark symptoms can easily get lost in the shuffle, or others could be exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Chloe’s illnesses are at the center of Run‘s plot. Run depicts the teen’s close relationship with her mother Diane (Sarah Paulson), but as soon as Chloe realizes Diane is trying to give her a mysterious new pill, their relationship quickly begins to unravel. Director Aneesh Chaganty creates rich tension in the psychological thriller, and part of this is to do with the inclusion of both physical and mental illnesses experienced by both Chloe and Diane.


Explained first by a title card in the beginning of the movie, Chloe’s five different illnesses are presumably a result of her being born prematurely, which is shown in a flashback sequence — Diane is worried about her newborn child, who is in the ICU. However, the big twist reveals that Diane’s child from the beginning of Run wasn’t Chloe — she stole Chloe, a perfectly healthy child, and poisoned her slowly over time, which resulted in her becoming ill. Although the majority of Chloe’s illnesses are not brought on by natural causes, it was vital for the Hulu horror movie to get the symptoms right. The movie hinged on the believability of all five of Chloe’s illnesses.


Asthma is a common condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, causing them to become narrow and swell. This causes extra mucus, making it hard for the person to breathe. It’s a fairly common illness, with the CDC stating that 1 in 13 people suffer from it. Asthma is triggered by airborne allergies, respiratory infections, physical activity, and more. It’s a serious but typically a fairly manageable illness, as it can usually be controlled by an inhaler.

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The Sarah Paulson-led thriller accurately depicts Chloe’s asthma. She’s bound to a wheelchair, meaning that physical activity is extra difficult for her. The movie shows her winded if she even pushes herself in her wheelchair too quickly. However, the best example of her asthma is when she escapes from her room after being locked in there by Diane. She rigs a system that allows her to drag herself across the room into the window of the room next door, but as she only has the use of her upper body, the feat is incredibly exhausting. By the time Chloe throws herself through the window, she’s so exhausted that she’s wheezing.

While Diane was proven to cause at least some of Chloe’s illnesses, it’s hard to say whether the asthma was caused by a pill. It’d likely be challenging to find a pill that could physically shrink Chloe’s airways. As people with asthma can typically easily live their day-to-day lives, this appears to be an illness that Chloe likey truly does have.


Diabetes is also on the list of Chloe’s illnesses. It’s a disease in which one has too much sugar in the blood. That’s because the person’s body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin. Someone with diabetes regularly has to monitor their blood sugar and give themselves insulin shots in order to regulate everything.

The twisted mother-daughter movie depicts Chloe monitoring her blood sugar levels and giving herself insulin when necessary. This is a common aspect of a diabetic’s daily routine. Diane also mentions adjusting Chloe’s dinner portions so she can have a couple of chocolates every night. This would also likely be a common strategy of someone who diligently monitors their blood sugar levels.

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It’s hard to say whether the diabetes was another illness that Diane helped create in Chloe. As she was in charge of Chloe’s meals, she could easily adjust the menu in order to manipulate Chloe’s blood sugar levels. However, the challenge comes in with the use of insulin. If Diane was truly giving Chloe insulin and she didn’t have diabetes, that could bring about dire consequences for her daughter. There’s always the chance Chloe was giving herself some kind of placebo shot. The vagueness in the validity of Chloe’s diabetes just makes the audience question how far Diane will go to keep her daughter locked in the house.


Chloe is also said to suffer from arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. It occurs when electrical impulses in the heart don’t work properly. The challenging thing with this disease is that there may not be any symptoms at all. So it’s hard to say how well Run depicted this disease. Once Chloe realizes Diane was poisoning her, she point-blank asks her mom if her heart beats regularly. As arrhythmia sometimes doesn’t present symptoms, Diane may have just told Chloe she suffered from it and left it at that. A fast heart rate is a side effect of some medicines, so there’s also a chance that Diane was able to simulate the disease with the right drug.


Hemochromatosis is caused by an excess of iron in someone’s body. This can present itself through diabetes, darkening of the skin, abnormal heart rhythm, or arthritis. Iron levels can be adjusted by removing blood from the affected person. Chloe doesn’t present darkened skin or seem to suffer from arthritis, but she is said to suffer from both diabetes and an abnormal heart rate. However, since Diane faked much of Chloe’s illness, it’s hard to say whether Chloe truly has hemochromatosis that caused diabetes and arrhythmia, or if Diane just did thorough research to further manipulate her daughter.


Chloe’s paralysis is at the center of Run‘s plot. Paralysis is a complete or partial loss of muscle function, meaning that the affected person cannot use certain parts of their body. For Chloe, it means she cannot use her legs. The horror movie depicted paralysis well, since Allen is disabled in real life. Because of that, every use of Chloe’s wheelchair and the mechanism to get her up and down stairs is accurate.

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The cause of Chloe’s paralysis is more suspect. The first act of the Hulu horror movie follows Chloe’s investigation into the new pill her mother is prescribing her. A local pharmacist informs Chloe that it’s actually medicine intended for a dog. She suspects that, if given to a human, the medicine could cause a person’s legs to go numb. The medication is a muscle relaxer called lidocaine. It does bock nerve signals to parts of the body, but there isn’t much evidence that it can affect a person’s legs.

Overall, Run does an effective job of depicting each of these illnesses, but the movie was especially clever in selecting some illnesses that do not always present physical symptoms. That way, the audience was left wondering which of Chloe’s five illnesses were real, and which were brought on by Diane.

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