Deep Breaths

If you read my last blog post you know that I started to feel a little under the weather a couple of weeks ago after running 10 miles in the pouring rain.   I developed a rather uncomfortable cough that almost two weeks later I still can’t seem to shake.  It has cost me many nights sleep, several planned runs and made me feel crappy when I should have been enjoying myself at a friend’s wedding last Saturday.
The cough was gross.  It’s deep, rarely productive and sounds like I am dying from emphysema.   Thankfully, it seems to be much more manageable this week and I am once again sleeping through most of the night without too much hacking.  It could be a cold, it could be allergies, it’s probably a hot little combo of both.  Regardless, I was forced to take a deep breath and remind myself that it is early on in marathon training and I have plenty of time to get better and get back to where I left off.  And I did just that, I literally took a deep breath – mostly to see how my lungs felt, and they felt just fine.  Regardless of how crappy I feel, I’m pretty healthy. 
In 2010 Ashley spoke on behalf of New England Organ Bank
encouraging others to register as organ donors
I mention this because, Ashley Drew, one of our volunteers at New England Organ Bank, has been suffering from Cystic Fibrosis most of her life.  She coughed all day long, couldn’t walk across the room without feeling fatigued, missed weeks of school due to hospitalization and could barely breathe.  Try breathing through a straw for 30 seconds or so and you’ll start to feel lightheaded, that’s how she felt all the time.  Ashley was listed for a double lung transplant in December of 2010 and waited 540 days until last Thursday she finally got the call she and her family had been praying for.  A donor had been identified and she would receive her transplant.  Ashley’s surgery went well and while recovery is challenging she is on her way to her own deep breaths. 
When I got this news on Friday afternoon I was so happy for Ashley.  She and her family are incredibly grateful for this lifesaving gift and grateful to the donor and donor family.  They are well aware of how blessed Ashley is to receive her transplant.  There are over 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life saving organ transplant.  Sadly, an average of 18 people die every day because their phone call didn’t come in time.  If you are not already registered to be an organ and tissue donor please consider doing so by visiting www.donatelife.net.  If you have reservations or questions about becoming a registered donor please comment below and I will provide all the answers I can. 
Against my better judgment (and to my mother’s dismay) I ignored my cough last weekend to do a long run on the Newton Hills.  I thought a lot about Ashley and how hard she fought to stay healthy so she would be ready when her new lungs finally arrived.  Strangely, I barely coughed on that run and truly appreciated every breath.  Ashley, this one’s for you – Gym Class Heroes: The Fighter
To learn more about Ashley’s journey please visit her blog site Air for Ashley.
Be sure to support my NYC Marathon campaign with a donation to the American Liver Foundation here: http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/LauraNYC

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