NYC Marathon Runner Needed Miracle Finish to Compete & Provide Future for Son – NBC New York

Years after bouncing again from a uncommon autoimmune prognosis and already finishing a number of marathons, Diane Owens nonetheless had one thing to show at this yr’s New York Metropolis Marathon. The Connecticut mom, one in every of 30,000 who ran this yr, was decided to not let her illness cease her from racing to the end line.

The New York Metropolis Marathon held its fiftieth anniversary on Nov. 7, coming back from a COVID pandemic hiatus in 2020.

Owens is a mom of two from Southbury, Connecticut, who was identified in 2016 with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a uncommon neurological dysfunction that would go away one paralyzed. This was not her first rodeo when it got here to the NYC Marathon. This was her fifth time collaborating within the competitors.

Nonetheless, this yr’s race took on one other that means – having defied the percentages that she might by no means stroll once more.

The Life-Altering Name

Owens’ story first started in 2013. She was by no means a lot of a runner and hardly thought of herself an athlete. However that yr, she and her husband, Jeff, had come to phrases with surprising information.

Their new child son, Alex, was identified with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a uncommon incurable genetic situation that causes tumors to develop alongside the nerves.

“Of course, as mom, your initial reaction is, ‘OK, he has this illness, what do I do?’ The answer was nothing. Don’t Google it. Just watch and wait,” Owens advised NBC New York.

To this guardian, there was no time to waste. She did not need to “sit around and watch her son to potentially deteriorate.” Her subsequent steps led her to attain out to Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), a nonprofit group devoted to funding analysis for the NF group.

After talking with one of many group’s endurance managers, Owens determined to take step one in coaching for a collection of runs to fundraise for her son’s illness.

From bottles of Aleve to gallons of Aspercreme, Owens slowly constructed up her stamina. One mile turned to ten miles, which ultimately led to her finishing three marathons, two in New York Metropolis and one on Lengthy Island.

In 2015, docs found two tumors on her 2-year-old Alex’s backbone and mind. The identical response to watch and wait was given, however Owens didn’t sit again.

Inside three years, she had raised $70,000 for CTF, and was within the midst of planning her subsequent three marathons for 2016. However life had different plans in retailer for this mom.

Closing the Door

In the direction of the tip of January 2016, Owens was dropping steam in her tempo, dragging on the course, affected by unexplainable tense migraines, and experiencing numbness.

“My legs were so weak. My runner’s legs that had just run the NYC Marathon a couple of months before could not get me up from a squatting position to standing,” mentioned Owens.

Admitted to Danbury Hospital, Owens’ first thought was simply to keep in movement, operating laps on the hospital flooring. Ultimately, her physique collapsed and he or she might not really feel her legs.

I really thought I used to be dying. It grew to become more durable to converse, more durable to breathe. Ultimately, I received to some extent the place I used to be fully quadriplegic.

Diane Owens

“What I would come to find out is that those headaches were the nerve endings dying. It was nerve pain, but I didn’t know because I never had it before,” Owens defined.

After a spinal faucet, docs identified Owens with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a uncommon neurological dysfunction by which the physique’s immune system mistakenly assaults a part of its peripheral nervous system.

Towards the Odds

What got here subsequent for Owens is nothing wanting a miracle. She was not anticipated to ever stroll once more, however by way of weeks of remedy she would little by little regain movement.

Throughout rehabilitation got here a second of realization, notably when first engaged on a foot bicycle with a bodily therapist named Jeff.

“Once he got them started, I was able to maintain momentum, and that’s when I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m going to race again,'” she remembers.

Immobilized but decided, Owens signed up for races from her hospital mattress. She set her sights on the primary 5K race she accomplished three years prior.

In March 2016, Owens was launched from the hospital and ran her first race three months after being fully paralyzed. Since then, whereas persevering with to elevate cash for CTF, she has accomplished two triathlons, eight half marathons, and three marathons.

An Object in Movement Will Keep in Movement

This yr, Owens participated within the main milestone for the NYC Marathon, which is celebrating 50 years.

“I’ve run all over the country. I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’m convinced the world is a much better place than we think it is, but there is nothing in the world like the New York Marathon,” mentioned Owens.

To Owens, having been in a wheelchair, on daily basis is a present having the ability to stroll and see her son, 9-year-old Alex, develop up enjoying baseball and having fun with faculty. Even Alex’s 12-year-old brother, Justy, has picked up operating for CTF.

Through the years, the household has deliberate further fundraising occasions, equivalent to pie-eating contests, faculty campaigns, and golf tournaments, which have altogether raised shut to a half-million {dollars}. Owens has even spoken on Captial Hill throughout Rare Disease Week.

Working isn’t just a manner to get her group to donate, it is an act of hope for this Connecticut mom.

You make your individual future, so in the event you determine you may’t do one thing, you may’t. But when another person decides you may’t do one thing, you will have a 50/50 shot. It isn’t about doing the issues the way in which different individuals outline how they need to be performed. It is about setting your individual objectives and deciding the way you need to obtain that purpose.

Diane Owens

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