We all need a little inspiration now and then. Check that. Sometimes, we need more than a little.
We may need it to get up the courage to face a health problem, deal with a disability – or just plain get out of bed in the morning. We may get it from within, from our children (which I often do) – or from someone we don’t even know. Someone who turns tragedy into triumph, giving us goose bumps that remind us we can do anything if we just set our minds to it. I had such a moment just yesterday.
I was getting my local morning news fix when I heard the story of Nick Roumonada – a 32-year-old man who just ran the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 25 seconds. On one leg.
Roumonada, who grew up in Seattle, had contracted bacterial meningitis when he was 13 years old. He wasn’t expected to live through the night – but thanks to his parents’ rapid response and immediate medical attention, Roumonada was saved. However, his left leg was not. It had to be amputated as a result of the disease. A major blow for the avid golfer who also played select-team soccer, traveling to compete in year-round tournaments.
More challenge – and opportunity
More than 15 years after his fate was twisted, Roumonada moved to New York to pursue his dream of being a musician. He had played the trumpet – but he soon had to put his instrument down after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder. Another health condition, another dream shattered. But his spirit was never broken.
“I feel grateful for everything that has happened in my life,” Roumonada recently told The Seattle Times. “I’ve decided that I’m the lucky one, and I want to tell people to not let life’s challenges break you, but to look at them as opportunities.”
The opportunity Roumonada saw was running. He received a prosthetic leg for running by A Step Ahead Prosthetics and trained for a year for the New York City Marathon. On Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, he crossed the finish line in less than four hours.
Now a resident of New York City, Roumonada works full time, attends The New School University in pursuit of a master’s degree and plays for the NY Rollin’ Knicks Wheelchair Basketball Team. He told Good Day New York that he also plans to run more marathons and hopes to set a good example for other amputees.
What an inspiration. For all of us.
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