Stories of Strength
In October 2019, I entered the gym—like any other day—but that day forever changed my life. I experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, resulting in paralysis of my left side. My prognosis was grim. I was told it was unlikely I’d ever regain movement in my left side. But then, I was admitted to Spaulding, where I met my therapy team, the people I would spend the next year of my life with. They restored my hope and helped me achieve previously unimaginable goals. They were with me every step of the way. After discharge, I was walking very slowly with a cane for support, yet I was still determined to return to my active lifestyle. One year later, I accomplished that goal and then some. October 13, 2021 was the one-year anniversary of my final outpatient therapy session – and two days earlier on October 11, I ran the Boston Marathon for Spaulding’s Race for Rehab team. It was the most fitting way for me to pay forward all that I received. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to run again, so to run the Boston Marathon, and to do it in support of the hospital that gave me my life back – I can’t think of a better way to say thank you.
My journey on the Race for Rehab Team began in 2016. My brother, diagnosed with a neurological disorder, had begun outpatient rehab at Spaulding. Despite the degenerative nature of the disease, his physical therapy included both strength and balance work, and the videos shared by his physical therapist were inspiring. Joining the Race for Rehab team was a way for me share what Spaulding has done for him, and to support the work they continue to do helping patients thrive in their rehabilitation. Through two marathons, being a member of this team, and this community, has been incredible. You know the work you are doing, and the funds you are raising, will help provide others with the same inspiration that Spaulding and their therapists have provided me and my family.
At age 14 on March 30, 2007, I was hit in the head by a line drive during my first Varsity Baseball practice at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with a fractured skull and bleeding in my brain. After a week at Children’s Hospital, I was transferred to Spaulding Rehab, which I called home for a month. The area of the brain where I got hit controls most of the human’s cognitive learning abilities so during my stay at Spaulding, I had to relearn how to walk, talk, feel and read, while also working to regain the strength that I lost while lying in a hospital bed. The staff at Spaulding was (and is!) top notch and I am so grateful for everything they did for me so that I could be the person I am today. It was a dream of mine to run the Boston Marathon. I’m extremely honored and proud to be part of the Race for Rehab Team, raising awareness and funds for Spaulding.
In December of 2006, Spaulding Rehab’s International Rehab Center for Polio made the diagnosis for symptoms that plagued me for ten years. While the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, terrified me at first, an incredible team of providers gave me hope for my future. One physical therapist in particular believed that I was not destined for a life in a wheelchair and helped me to reclaim my life and well-being. In February of 2008, I felt a calling to run the 2009 Boston Marathon although I had never run a day in my life! I knew about the Race for Rehab Team and wanted to pay it forward by running for Spaulding. My husband and daughter did not want me to train and run the marathon alone. Truth be told they didn’t think I was serious about it but I certainly was. From that first meeting in the old Spaulding Hospital conference room, to training runs and to an amazing experience on race day, Team McManus has memories to last a lifetime. We raised $10,535 and I conquered my limitations and Heartbreak Hill after 7 hours and 49 minutes from Hopkinton to Boston on April 20, 2009.