Run, Run, Run As Fast As You Can
by Christie Perkins
Last year, at this time, I was only about 6 months free of cancer treatments. The toll on my body was still in full effect. I was tired but happy (as anyone knows who has ever gone through chemo knows that true happiness is the ditching of chemo treatments).
I knew my energy levels so I was certain that I wasn’t going to run the “pink race”. It’s a 5k/1 mile walk to raise money for local breast cancer patients. One of my cancer friends is the 5k head hauncho. But, the alligator tears from my 3 year old who wanted to run for mommy had me at the line up.
I wouldn’t be able to run. But I could walk.
I ended up shuffle running the 1 mile walk with my two youngest boys. The chemo and radiation potion had me huffing and puffing to keep up. But I suppose three year olds have that effect on anyone, regardless of physical state.
But this year I was miles ahead of where I was last year. My energy was slowly coming back. This year was going to be different. I was going to run the 1 mile “walk.” Yeah, overachiever, I know.
I was stoked.
Then less than a week before the big day, I landed my semi-annual back-out-of-whack gig. Twice a year I throw that baby out. So, once again I had to walk it. I was able to take it slow this time. But I wasn’t very excited that this year I had to walk it.
I wanted to run it because this year I actually could. I have felt the zing of energy bouncing back into my life, I wanted to maximize it. Well, that, and I wanted to see if I could beat a preschooler.
But, I guess if you can’t run, you just walk.
And then I met John Allan. Pity party over.
Meet John Allan
John Allan was a fit, distinguished, gentleman with a smile. A running leg supported his left side. I was drawn to him. Here was this man at the pink race, an amputee. And an air of happiness bubbled around him. I just had to know his story. When he crossed the finish line someone leaned over to me and said, “It’s his second time through.”
That initiated an impulsive bee line over to him.
Poor guy was catching his breath and wiping sweat when I captured him. He was tired but happy.
“What’s your story?” I asked. Everyone has a victory story about who they are and how they got there. Some people carry their victory in some sort of permanent souvenir, such as John, and others carry it in their smile or the glint in their eye.
Victory is never easy, but conquering gives life the power of passion. John had passion.
He smiled and chuckled a little. “Well, I got an email from heaven, then drove all the way to Nashville to pick up my leg.”
“From heaven, huh?” I asked, not in disbelief but in admiration for recognizing the true source of help.
“Yeah, I don’t know how they got my email but someone asked me to apply for a blade runner.” A broad smile stretched across his face and the twinkle in his eye lit up, “I never thought I’d run again.”
“So you’re an runner?” It was the obvious question. Yes, Christie, he just ran it twice. Obviously he’s a runner. But, he treated my obvious shock with kindness.
“Yeah, I was a triathlete in big island Hawaii.”
And suddenly my mind was exploding with how that must have felt to have his passion ripped from him. A ladder accident left him walking across finish lines instead.
But not today. Today he was running.
I was inspired. I asked if I could share his story.
John was in a hurry to get to work when he realized that he left an extension cord on the roof. So, he threw the ladder in the back of his truck and climbed up.
It was a decision that changed his life forever. Regret laced his words but he held a smile.
He fell only 6 feet. That’s it. Six feet. It broke his leg completely in half and there was nothing they could do. For the following 6 years he lived with a prosthesis. He did a lot of hiking on that leg, a compensation for running I suppose. This missing limb would not keep him from living.
When you can’t run, I guess you just walk.
And when you learn to walk, an email from heaven will help you run.
What a gift.
Last Saturday John sported his new blade runner. It was only 2 weeks old. Thanks to amputeebladerunners.com John didn’t have to walk it. He could run! Our hometown pink race was his now chalking up to be his second race already. What a little miracle John is, inspiring others that when life knocks you down you just get up and keep walking. Then, just wait for that email from heaven.
True happiness is also in running again.
Thanks John for coming to our pink race. It was a pleasure to meet and be inspired by you. Good luck on your next race.
Sometimes you just want to run. You want to feel the strength of accomplishment coursing through your veins. You want to feel yourself pushed to your limits and then stare it in the face with victory.
But, sometimes you just have to walk. It’s okay. Keep walking. Keep moving forward, because even walking will get you places. I know it can be frustrating but there’s power in what you can do. And when you do your best… gifts from heaven can’t help but rescue you.
One of these days you will find yourself at the line up and you may be doing a shuffle run. Or maybe you will be gliding on a blade runner, but either way you will be running again when you never thought it was possible. I am certain of this. Don’t give up, just give you’re all.
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