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Thursday, November 12, 2009

November Athlete of the Month

Are you ready to be inspired?

Are you ready to read about someone who has truly overcome some HUGE odds?

Do you think you can keep up with this lady?

Well, please let me introduce you to HOPE GALLEY one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met while associate with the STOP THE CLOT movement.

I had the pleasure to meet Hope virtually and got to ask her my usual questions so that all of us can get inspired and get out to continue doing what we do and spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.
1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My outdoor sport is Handcycling. The reason why I chose handcycling is because prior to my cancer and blood clot, I was a marathon runner. I missed competing and I missed crossing the finish line and I knew I needed to find a way to get back in the action. I met some soldiers through my volunteer work at Walter Reed Medical Center and they introduced me to the sport.

2) How did you get started in that sport?
The soldiers at Walter Reed and Geoff Hopkins, who works with Disabled Veterans introduced me to the sport.

3) What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
I finished first in the women’s handcycle division for the Army 10 Miler in October 2008. I also completed the NYC Marathon in November of 2008. I’m planning on participating in the Army 10 miler again this fall and would like to do another marathon in the spring.

4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I’m not on blood thinners now. However, the cancer I had was wrapped around my femoral vein. When the cancer was removed, the Dr’s made a decision to “tie” off my femoral vein because there was so much damage to the vein.

5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
My cancer started with a blood clot which was diagnosed in June of 2006. I was out of exercise till June of 2008 when I did my first handcycle race in NYC, The Hope and Possibilities race through Central Park. The feeling of finishing that race and knowing I was still an athlete still brings tears to my eyes. The race was only 5 miles, but I didn’t care…I finished and I was BACK!

6) What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
My favorite thing to wear when I’m doing my races is a race jersey which says ATHLETE on it. We often forget ATHLETES come in all shapes and sizes. My illness and disability has allowed me to meet some amazing people! The strength and courage of the disabled athletes truly inspire me!

7) How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I work out 4-5 times a week. I ride the stationary bike at the gym and I lift weights (primary upper body) 2-3 times a week. During the spring/summer/fall, I try and get out on my bike at least 2 times a week. However, that isn’t always possible. I travel a lot for work, and unlike running which you can do any where, it is difficult to find a hand cycle!

8) What is your favorite food? Either generally or after a workout.
My guilty pleasure is red wine and chocolate! After a long ride or hard work out, I always seem to find the wine and the chocolate.

9) If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
I’m disappointed that my disability will not allow me to climb one of the great mountains. However, I know there are other things which I can do. I would like to go on a Safari, or hike part of the Grand Canyon, or maybe even jump out of a plane! I’m game for anything, but I do know my body now has limits.

10) What would like to say to someone who is going through a clotting episode, perhaps very similar to yours? How can people return to do what they enjoy? Tells about your concerns and what you look out after as you got back.
I would first say, don’t wait to have yourself checked out. Blood clots are serious and they can be fatal. I would also say ask questions of your medical team. You know your body the best, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or discuss your fears. Finally, remember our bodies are amazing structures. Mine has taken me through 2 bouts with Cancer, a disability, a blood clot, and numerous other challenges….However, it has kept on going! Remember to love yourself. Take care of yourself, be your true to who you are …and don’t be afraid. With good medical care and self care, you will come out on top!

Hope, I am having chocolate and red wine right now as I am writing this... you even inspired my eating tonight... that is powerful!
Thank you for your willingness to share your story and your kind words. Many out there with blood clots can read about you and learn that although your body may have some limitations due to the clotting episode you still have the chance to keep on rolling.

Together all of us can STOP THE CLOT!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

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My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!
First Time ever My Son got to cross the finish line with me. Without a doubt a Wonderful Experience