Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Hero. Our Hero.

It’s official.

Every time I think about it, my eyes well up with tears of sheer joy.

I’ve known he was a hero since that evening run back in 2008. When I was in my first running clinic huffing and puffing my way through a 20-minute run, thinking that there was no way I was going to make it. That I just wasn’t strong enough to be a runner.

Out of the blue a quiet, unassuming man ran up beside me and kept me company. He chatted with me. I listened because I did not have the strength to talk. He gently motivated me to just keep moving and, somehow, I did. I made it through the run and made a new friend. His name was John.

He quickly became my hero.

Yesterday, John received an email that confirmed what many of us have known to be true for years. John was officially chosen as one of this year’s Global Heroes.

I can say, without a doubt, that there is no better person upon which to bestow the title of Hero.

The most shocking part of John’s story is the part that actually allowed him to submit an application to Medtronic’s Global Heroes. You see, in order to apply, one has to be a runner who is able to run thanks to some sort of medical device.  In John's case, it's an ICD.

November 2008 - John died from cardiac arrest. His heart stopped. His partner (now wife) Michelle became his lifeline by doing CPR until the ambulance arrived. The paramedics shocked his heart and brought him back to life. John now has an ICD. Pretty amazing stuff to be sure.

But that’s not what makes him a hero. To be brave, to be a hero, one must have a choice. John did not choose to go into cardiac arrest and he did not choose to be saved. His cardiac arrest was a random event and his life was saved thanks to other heroes like Michelle and the paramedics.

John is a hero because of what happened after that fateful night.

Many people would have chosen to live in fear after such a harrowing experience.

John didn’t.

John faced his fears head on. He plowed through them and he kicked their asses. Less than two months after his cardiac arrest, John showed up at Runners’ Edge ready to run. Less than seven months after his cardiac arrest, he ran his first half marathon. He and Michelle got married soon afterwards and they created the most amazing blended family I have ever had the pleasure to meet. 

John has chosen to live his life to the fullest. He faces his fears every day and refuses to let them win.

John challenges himself.

To stay fit and healthy. 

To love unconditionally.

To make himself vulnerable.

To be a true friend. 

In doing so, he inspires others. 

To run just a little further.   To be honest with themselves.   To be brave.

John’s life was saved and handed back to him. What he has chosen to do with it is what makes him a hero.

1 comment:

  1. There are very few things that make me tear up but this post did. Not just because of what you wrote about but because I remember you telling me about John and the Medtronic Global Heroes. I felt the power through that conversation we had that one day. I only wish you got the chance to run beside him as a hero yourself. This post really touched me. it's beautiful.