Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and my life dramatically change after the morning of Feb. 24, 2008.
I was attacked at knife point by a stranger. I broke 22 bones, I suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury, & I was in a coma for 5 weeks. It didn’t look like I would survive at first. Then my family was told that if I woke up I would not be the same daughter they knew because of how severe my brain injury was.
When I first woke up I could not speak or walk. Then I was transported to an inpatient rehab facility after I left the hospital. I don’t remember much from this time, but I vaguely remember my family and the nursing staff in tears of disbelief as I took my first steps.
After 2 weeks there, I moved in with my parents who became my full-time caregivers. Some days were better than others for me. I will never forget the day my doctor said to me “look out the window. Do you see that a lot of those people can no longer walk, talk, or live normal lives? You have a traumatic brain injury like they have. Do you know how much to inspire them and give them hope?” That was the first time I realized that I can help give others hope.
I was receiving physical therapy everyday & finally my physical therapist gave me permission to use the treadmill. I looked forward to my time on the treadmill. This became my time without people taking care of me. I was able to focus on what happened to me because I realized that it was when I was on the treadmill that I felt strong. It was my escape. My walks turned into strides & my strides turned into jogs.
I began running races in 2009. At first I was happy to complete a race, but soon enough my goal became to complete a marathon. I ran my first marathon in Philadelphia in 2013. After completing this marathon, I was so proud of myself for never giving up & finding my inner strength. Since then I have run in 7 marathons. I have a traumatic brain injury but that will not define me. I have an amazing husband & 2 little boys who are my biggest supporters.
I have told my story at self-defense classes, to a group of women who are fighting breast cancer, and I have spoken to senior girls at our local high school. I hope that my story can teach these young girls to be aware of their surroundings & help them notice potentially dangerous situations. I also hope that my story can help inspire others to believe that they can overcome struggles in their own lives.
I run for victims who have not found their strength yet. I run for those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries. I run for rape victims who haven’t found their voice yet. I run for those who are facing a battle that seems too tough to handle.
I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I thank God each & every day for giving me a second chance at life!
Thank you for letting me join this helpful family!