Samantha’s life was forever changed when she fell off a roof and damaged her spine just over a decade ago. Medical experts told her that she would live with chronic pain for the rest of her life and may never be active again. At first she felt discouraged and didn't know where to turn. After gaining weight and suffering excruciating pain from spinal disc degeneration, she decided to make a change.
Samantha consulted her doctors and they encouraged her to lose weight in order to minimize the pressure on her spine. She found she could still walk, though it was uncomfortable for her at first. After a few weeks, and the loss of several pounds, the pain began to alleviate slightly. Still, it was not as much as she had hoped.
Spurred on by the desire to be pain free, Samantha started a Weight Watchers program and began walking and running regularly. This new commitment led her to lose a total of 80 lbs. Her consistent dedication to light activity and healthier food choices led to a physical transformation that ultimately transformed the rest of her life.
“I am a warrior” she proclaims proudly, “I will not hide my light from the world, I need to let it shine.” And shine she has. Though she is currently separated from her husband, she has her three sons Drew, Cole, and Graham, and her mother, Barbara to keep her happy and inspired. Her family has been her strongest support system through every step of her journey.
Samantha says this is the best she has ever felt despite the extreme mental, physical, and emotional adversity she has faced. Throughout her recovery she suffered not only the agony of her spinal disc degeneration, but also several miscarriages. She memorialized one of her lost babies, Jax, with a tattoo and feels him watching over her as she drives forward each day. Her faith in God and determination allowed her to push through all of this and find joy in her life through ultimately focusing on walking.
For Samantha, walking is a way for her to connect with nature and open herself to deeper channels of spirituality. In her picturesque home of Cape Cod, Massachusetts it's not difficult to find inspiration in the natural beauty and serenity. Walking has allowed her to reinforce her faith, recover her body, and reconnect with her inner light. It's the only time she is free from chronic pain, which is why she is so devoted to it. “I always humble myself remembering I should have died or been paralyzed after that fall, so I move into a gratitude attitude and not that of a victim. I’m fighting to sparkle and be a light in this world, and by smiling I feel I can stay in that energy!” Her gratitude and refusal to succumb to victimhood allows her to shine on as proof to others that you can find joy in life no matter what!
Samantha decided to join Run the Year for additional motivation and to put her daily miles toward a tangible goal. She had already incorporated several miles of walking a day into her routine, so why not receive a medal for it?
We have no doubt Samantha will cover 2,018 miles this year. She has risen above every challenge life has thrown at her with grace, resolution, and dignity. She successfully transformed her body and centered herself step by step. Though she still lives with chronic back pain, she does not let it stop her from Running The Edge!