By Kathy Nguyen
…and apparently many falls
To better understand why I wanted to create WeRunWithYou, we have to rewind time a few years. You see, three years ago my life forever changed. In the midst of enjoying time with my family in California, I collapsed and slipped into a coma. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, an aneurism along my vertebral artery had burst causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which caused my brain and body to simply shutdown.
After 6 days on life support, 10 hours of intense brain surgery, and a lot of luck, I was able to regain consciousness and breathe on my own again. Then began a long and difficult road to recovery – a journey that would not have been possible without the help of so many doctors, nurses, medical staff, and of course family and friends. All of this support allowed me to fully recover and return to running, the one thing I loved to do the most. In fact, I was able to run the Los Angeles Marathon less than a year later with one of my neurosurgeons, my physical therapist, and several other members of Keck Medicine of USC.
My recovery was far from certain. There were moments when I questioned if I would be able to run again. There were times when the pain reached a seemingly unbearable level, as if a train was driving a spike through my brain from the inside. I will say though, that I consider myself very lucky to have come through the other side of this ordeal without lasting deficit. Actually, to be frank, what I grappled with was guilt, which drove me to push myself physically. In the three years following my stroke, I raced hard and often (competing year-round in triathlons and running events) – to the point where I ended up back in the ER after over-exerting myself during a race.
I came to realize that I needed to channel this survivor-guilt-fueled energy into something more positive – to help as many people as I can overcome an ordeal like this or a life obstacle keeping them from doing what they love to do the most. I know there are many who do not have the support I was lucky to have had, and many who have much greater challenges than I faced. I want them to know that they are not alone. They have an advocate in me…in us.
That is why I created WeRunWithYou – to create a community of advocates that supports individuals needing a little encouragement or guidance, and a community that uses its collective energy and passion to make a positive difference in this world.
Are you ready to join me?
Kathy is the founder of WeRunWithYou. She is an avid runner, accomplished triathlete, and mother of twins. Kathy has completed over 12 marathons, an ultra-marathon, and triathlons of all distances, including the 2013 Florida Ironman. She survived a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2015, an experience that motivated her to start #RunLAwithKathy and WeRunWithYou to give back and make a difference.