Nobody cares if you're not a good dancer. Just get up and dance. The same holds true for racing. Whether first or last, we all cross that same finish line. Just get out there and run.
- Dean Karnazes

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Guest Blog Post

I'm home from my trip to Toronto. As I unpack, and re-organize, I thought I'd leave you all with an incredible entry from my new running partner Danielle. I met Danielle during my last go around in Lost It At The Club, and in Groove she was my running man buddy. You should see her running man... amazing. In all seriousness, she's a true inspiration and an all around awesome girl.

- Lucy 

Guest Blog Post 

As some of you know I am Lucy’s running partner now and will be doing the half and full marathons with her.  She has been the best motivation as I am sure most of you can get from her blog and I couldn’t be more excited to finish this part of our journey together.  A little background first on myself, I am 23 born and raised in Michigan and moved here to Georgia three years ago to attend school.  I currently work at a hotel resort as a server in the restaurant while I am applying to new schools to attend here. Lucy asked me to write a little something about myself and basically tell you my story and journey of weight loss and overcoming obstacles so here it is…

Two years ago (June 19, 2009) I had planned this elaborate trip with my friend to go to Florida to pick up my other friend Zach and surprise our friend Brandon.  She was picking me up at my house after I got out of class that day and we were on the road.  We had both lied to our families saying we were going to Valdosta, GA (about a 3 hour drive) when in fact we were driving to Orlando, FL, the lie was out of fear of them telling us we didn’t need to spend the money and/or take the time off from work or school which essentially they would have been right and we knew that…hence the lie.  Anyways, she picked me up and we started our journey for the fourth time that month to Florida (another reason we didn’t want to tell the truth to our parents), we were laughing, joking, listening to music, gossiping, all the normal stuff girls would do, that’s when it started to downpour rain.  We joked about how we were used to it because every drive to Florida seemed to rain so we were unphased by this sudden downpour, until McKinley (friend and driver of the car) hit a puddle and hydroplaned down a hill on interstate 75.  At that point my memory is gone; all I know is what was told to me.  My memory of the next 3 weeks to a month was gone because she hit a tree on my side and I suffered the majority of the injuries; cracked rib, punctured lung, bruised spleen and liver, cracked clavicle (from seatbelt), and the worst of it a cracked skull and brain injury.  I was in a medically induced coma for the first week of being in the hospital in Florida.  I had a feeding tube in my stomach and mentally started at the age of a 3 year old so that included me being in diapers and I couldn’t walk because the head injury was on the right side and I had left side paralysis.  Zach and Brandon figured it out and got a hold of a state trooper who verified our accident but couldn’t give names because they weren’t family.  They called my friend Cory who called my mom in Michigan (she has never met Cory and he had to call and tell her that her daughter had been in a car accident) and then the stream of phone calls began.  My mom flew down that night and my aunt and grandmother started the drive to Shands hospital in Florida.  I spent two weeks in Florida before they transferred me to Shepherd Center in Atlanta (the same hospital that Christopher Reeves went to) and that is where I spent the remaining month and a half undergoing physical, occupational, and speech therapy so that I could mentally be in my 20s again.  I had to teach myself how to walk again, feed myself, and use the bathroom by myself.  I left the hospital a changed woman and will never take another day for granted.  I instantly went into 8 weeks of outpatient therapy where the physical and mental help continued.  Memories slowly started to come back but I was told that I will never remember the accident itself, funny how the brain works. 

Onto my weight loss journey; after I came back and started back to normal life I realized that things would have been easier to recover had a not been so overweight.  That is when I found Jamie and the Lost It program at World Gym.  My first go around I lost 22 pounds and then I chose to do it a second time and I lost another 18 pounds.  Putting my total weight loss at 40 pounds, I went from 221 to 180, a size 18 to a size 12, and the confidence of an ant to that of a rock star.  I had some residual things from my accident that affected my exercising but I didn’t let that stop me. 

I like to think that the journey I have been through in the short 23 years I have been here is enough to inspire me and others to keep pushing forward because there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I got a second chance, not everyone gets that, and I refuse to screw that up by something stupid that I can change; like my health or weight.  I had a goal to walk again, then to dance again, then to lose weight, and now my goal is to run a half and full marathon.  I accomplished all the rest now why can’t I do this one?  I know I can. Have a dream and go for it.  You are the only one stopping yourself from making that dream come true.

Thank you Lucy for allowing me to be a part of your journey, letting me be motivated by you as my running partner, and for allowing me to share my story with everyone.   

- Danielle


Anonymous said...

Such an inspiring story...deeply touched by you danielle! Thank you for sharing. I am chasing my dreams.

Johann said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. Sometimes we need stories like this to do a check on ourselves. I’ll be following your journey to the half and marathon with interest.

Lesley @ RacingItOff said...

Wow. Great story. Thanks for the guest post!

Marissa said...

oh my gosh, what a great post and story of strength and determination!!! Amazing :)

If that's not motivation to all of us, I'm not sure what is!!!

Fruit Fly said...

Wow, Danielle, that is quite a story! I'd say you are pretty darn inspiring. I'm looking forward to hearing more about you as you and Lucy keep up with all of this running for your big races together!

Haylee Schade said...

YAY I LOVE YOU D! and i am sooooo proud of you and I wish i could be at your races with pom poms!!

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