So today I am writing this because the board has breathing down our necks, telling us to make blog posts because apparently people not only read them, but they actually enjoy them! I know, it sounds as weird to me as it does to you. However, in all seriousness I was encouraged, moved, and inspired today by this story about this chick named Kayla Montgomery from North Carolina. I’ve never met her, never talked to her, but I watched this E60 report on her today and the strength and determination she displays is quite impressive.

Now that I’ve got you hooked, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck did she do?”. Kayla is one of the fastest female 5k runners in North Carolina. As a runner, this already has me impressed. I am honestly a fairly average 5k runner on the competitive circuit and would probably be considered a good 5k runner by any average joe. The 5k is long, it is hard, its all about determination and will. But back to Kayla. I forgot to mention one thing earlier, Kayla has MS (multiple sclerosis) and it effects her lower body. Her body attacks it’s own nerves, and her symptoms flare when her body temperature raises above it’s normal levels. Like when she’s running. What does this mean for Kayla? She loses all feeling in her legs when she runs. ALL FEELING. We’re talking like they could have been cut off for all she knows. Her legs power through on sheer muscle memory and her will. When she crosses the finish line, her coach has to catch her because she can’t control her legs enough to stand up in place. She then has to ice her legs to get her body temp down and get the feeling to return to legs. Running with the pain of “the burn” sucks, but man I can’t even begin to think about what it is like to feel absolutely nothing. To not know if the feeling is going to return to her legs. To me, she is brave to continue running with the condition that she has. In the interview of her, she says she does it because she wants to enjoy what she has, while she has it.

Watching her story makes part of me want to drop the classes I’m in and pick up the easiest ones I can find so that I can just train every day as hard as I can to really become good at the 800. It makes me want to run, to race, to put everything out there on a track. At there very same time, I know that the reason that I am here at UIUC is that same drive to push myself. It’s the reason I chose to take these more challenging chemistry classes over the easier lower level ones. It’s the reason that I want to someday go to med school and become a doctor. It’s the reason that I am going to be biking across a freaking continent this summer. I have to challenge myself to see what I can achieve because I don’t want to look back later in life just to see what I COULD have been. I want to look a back and be amazed by what I BECAME, what I did and what I  accomplished. The only thing that I am guaranteed in this life is death. I have no clue how long my heath will continue to be the way that it is, I just know that I need to take advantage of it while it lasts. This summer I will be pushing my physical limits, seeing the true face of this country, talking to people whose lives have been changed  in ways that I cannot even imagine. Hopefully I will come out a more wise person, a stronger person, and ready to continue to push myself.


Kayla’s Story



Comments (3)
  • Grace Deetjen says:

    I love Kayla’s story. And yep, people read your blogs! Maybe just me, but still I’m glad someone on your team is getting things started blogging! :)

  • Love the blog and love kayl as story. Thank you for sharing it to others.

  • Jeff Coffland says:

    Yes Sean there are some people who actually read your blog! I must admit though that I probably would not have read it if I had not had the chance to chat with you on part of the Alumni ride from Chicago to Glencoe on your way to McHenry. While not an Illini 4000 alumni I am a University of Illinois alumni.

    I recently saw a video on Kayla and her accomplishments – including her falling in the high school state meet – and still winning! I also found it inspiring. You captured the essence of the story and internalized it an incredible way. I have no doubt that you will achieve whatever you set out to do because you seek out and attack challenges rather than taking the easy path. Best wishes during the ride, your years at Illinois, and medical school beyond. Never forget Kayla’s story along with what you are destined to achieve.

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