Monday, December 16, 2019

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I have been so blessed to experience magic and miracles in my life after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome. So often the magic and miracles happened through the sport of running and often at a race directed by Paul Collyer of BA Event Promotions.

Yesterday morning, Tom and I along with our village in the running community via Facebook were blessed to witness magic and miracles at the Bill Rodgers Somerville Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk.

From 1/2018-8/2019 Ruth Anne endured 14 hospitalizations for psychiatric symptoms that were actually caused by an untreated infection. We realized in August that she lives with an autoimmune condition that causes her body to experience brain inflammation in response to an infection (originally strep when she was 6 years old) and cause neuropsychiatric symptoms. With an aggressive course of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds and meds to treat the psychiatric symptoms, she had an EPIC comeback race yesterday with her proud dad Tom McManus on the Somerville hills at the Bill Rodgers "Somerville Jingle Bell Run & Walk".

We are deeply grateful for Occupational Therapy at Spaulding Rehab and an incredible Team at Harvard Vanguard Associates along with Ruth Anne's indomitable spirit and fiery determination to overcome!

Ruth Anne had not run a race since we crossed the finish line of the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon. She was in too much physical and emotional pain to run or at times to even go on living!

In February of this year she took an overdose but somehow soldiered on enduring misdiagnoses and wrong medications until we finally found the missing piece of the puzzle in August.

She returned to the sport of running that had brought her and Team McManus so much joy and healing through the years in early September.

We walked the Joseph Middlemiss Superhero 5K at the end of September.

Ruth Anne took the first steps of her return to life surrounded by a community of love.

After the Superhero 5K, Ruth Anne decided she wanted to run the Jingle Bell 5K with her dad. I was overjoyed and quite content to be support crew. I knew there was one big hill in the race and so we took to Heartbreak Hill for our training runs. Ruth Anne went back to basics using the Galloway walk/run method. Tom was timekeeper, pacer and cheerleader while I would go off and do my 5K's at my pace. They slowly built up the run/walk ratio and their miles to 4 miles. We didn't know how important those extra miles and hill training would be come race day.

The weather was supposed to have wind gusts up to 30 mph but magically the winds died down and the sun came out. It was brisk before gun time but many runners were pouring sweat when they crossed the finish line. We had a miraculous thaw and all the snow and ice that had fallen earlier in the week had melted before race day.

We saw Paulie and other friends at the start and took our pre race selfie photos. Ruth Anne and Tom's goals for the race were to have fun and finish!

While I was enjoying pre-race announcements by Paulie, and Boston Marathon champions Jack Fultz and Bill Rodgers:

Ruth Anne was planning out her race strategy:

At 10am the runners were off:

After 17 minutes and change, the first Santa crossed the finish line. I love watching a race. It fires up my mirror neurons and inspires me to be the best runner I can be. I cheered the runners into the finish and enjoyed the announcements welcoming runners back to the finish line.

Around the 50 minute mark I was getting a little antsy. Paulie could tell I was a little anxious and said, "They're still coming in Mary. Tom and Ruth Anne should be along shortly....How's she doing by the way?"

"I hope she's okay," I said. Paulie went on to clarify, "No I mean how is she doing?"

"Oh it's like night and day Paulie. We are so blessed!"

And a few minutes later ... that magical moment of seeing Tom and Ruth Anne coming into the finish line:

Paulie captured this still photo:

Here they are with their bling beautifully crafted by Ashworth Awards:

After expressing my deepest gratitude and love to Paulie, we wished each other a wonderful rest of the day. We went to Diesel Cafe to warm up and refuel as Tom and Ruth Anne recounted their race with me. Because of construction detours, the race was about 3.55-3.6 miles (according to people's Garmins as they posted on Facebook) and it was all hills. Their training served them well!

They achieved their race goals to have fun and finish! Ruth Anne is well on her way to reclaiming her life after enduring three years of seemingly endless suffering with a very poor prognosis.

Do you believe in miracles?

I sure do!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

To learn more about my journey from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website at

Looking for great gift ideas? Give the gift of inspiration with my books available on Amazon....

and/or the gift of healing choosing from suggestions on my website's "Healing Resources" page.

Be sure to listen to my interview with Kendra Petrone on the Award Winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

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