Sunday, April 24, 2016

Manitoba Runners' Association Hall of Fame Banquet

To promote and support the sport of running for health and fitness for life to runners of all ages and abilities.
Manitoba Runners' Association Mission Statement

We transition from jogger to runner the moment we register for a race and chances are good the race is sanctioned by MRA. This volunteer board works tirelessly to promote running in our community. They expect no thanks or acknowledgement; they simply live and breathe their mission statement in all they do.  On behalf of the thousands of runners MRA serves, See Mike Run sends his gratitude.

Aside from sanctioning 50 events a year, they also promote the MRA Youth Series, deliver seminars, publish a newsletter, provide advice to race directors, and loan out equipment. The MRA also holds an annual banquet to honour Manitoba runners under four categories; Builder, Athlete, Club, and Runner of the Year. This year's sold-out banquet was outstanding and will remembered forever by those in attendance.

This years' inductees were selected from a wide field of deserving nominations. We warmly welcome Stephanie Roberecki (builder/athlete), Joanne Schiewe (athlete), Robert Bienke (runner of the year), and Prairie Sky Road Runners (club) to the Manitoba Runners' Association Hall of Fame. Other distinguished members include Dennis Lang, Georgina Cook, David Fielder, John Murphy, and Dwayne Sandall to name but a few.

All inductees at the 2016 event received a long and heartfelt standing ovation, and yes, there were a whole lotta tears, tears of happiness, tears of love, and tears of joy.

The evening was co-hosted by John Murphy and Ace Burpee. John's eloquence at the mic was met with Ace's biting humour.  Ace's spoke of 'who not to induct into the Hall of Fame' and included such notables as himself and his sister.... you really had to be there!  

The food was delicious and the vegetarian option was well received by many.  The cash bar was well stocked and the service was friendly, but why close the bar at 7:30 just as the speeches were to begin? Many went to refill their glass and were met with a closed bar.  I know we're runners and most nights we're in bed by 9:00 PM, but heck, a second glass of wine would have been nice.

The late, great Prince said "We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life".  That's what the MRA banquet is all about. We gather and laugh, and shed some tears, and hug, and smile, and drink (just one glass though), and talk and listen, and reflect, and give thanks... all in the name of getting through this thing called life. We choose to move our bodies through this thing called life. We cycle, we swim, we run through this thing called life.  We challenge ourselves and we are stubborn. We won't rest until we achieve. We won't stop until we die. We run past the finish line to another line and another line.

We run through this thing called life.

We are a community of runners and we thank Joanne Schiewe, Stephanie Roberecki, Robert Bienke, the Prairie Sky Road Runners for their spirit and we thank the MRA board of directors for their passion.

Kathy Wiens
John Murphy
Dreena Duhame
Judy McMullen
Leni Campbell
John Wichers
Brenlee Muska
Ken Perchaluk
Rockford McKay
Bobbi Nicol
Sam Neis

They say one transitions from jogger to runner the moment one register for a race. I say we transition from a runner to a proud Manitoban Runner the moment we take out an MRA membership.

It's a good day to be alive, but hold onto your hat!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

David's Journey

Welcome to David's story. David is a father, a husband, a runner, and an electrician. He's also a regular dude, someone with whom you'd want to share a coffee or beer. David is now a statistic. He has survived a traumatic brain injury. He's not supposed to alive, at best he's supposed to be in a vegetative state. But he didn't get the memo about the odds of survival. With a lot of love from his wife Mandi, his son Liam, his family and friends (3 waiting rooms full) he survived. He will be there for all Liam's milestones events. He will hold Mandi's hand through life. David is alive, and as you know, it's a good day to be alive.
On July 15th 2013 my husband of 1.5 years and the father of Liam our son (12 months at the time) was involved in a work place accident. He was performing his everyday tasks as an electrician. While changing ballasts on an outdoor sign, he was electrically shocked with enough electrical power to black him out. This caused him to dead fall off an 8 foot ladder hitting the concrete ground. Witnesses found him and he was rushed to Health’s Science Centre, unresponsive in critical emergency care. We received the grim news that he has suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, which left him on life support in a coma.  On the day of his accident he required brain surgery to remove the damaged tissue and required a craniotomy to relieve the swelling pressure on his brain. He remained in intensive care in a coma.  I still remember the phone call like it was yesterday saying that I better hurry to the hospital because David was involved in a work accident and was unconscious.  This phone call left a million thoughts racing through my head.   My heart was beating so fast and I began to panic. I called my family arranging someone to come and watch Liam and I rushed to the hospital.  Everything from this moment felt so surreal, making the world around me just stop.

When I arrived at the hospital the staff directed me to the intensive care unit where David was unconscious and hooked up to life support, many cords and machines. At this very moment my mind was over thinking and I thought this was the end of our life together. The man that I loved more than anything and the father to our son was now lying unconscious in a coma. I did not know if he was ever going to wake up from this. After a few short hours of family and friends filling up three waiting rooms, all very concerned and worried about David, the neurosurgeon approached us with the grim news that David was going to need emergency brain surgery due to the excessive  bleeding in his brain.  In fact, on his CT scan 80 percent of his brain was covered in blood. The surgery required was to relieve of the pressure that was built up in his brain. Through the amazing hands of the surgical team and the power of prayer and God the surgery went well. Dr. Bieko, the brain surgeon and his team removed two contusions of brain tissue that were so damaged that they had to be remove. They also performed a craniotomy on David’s skull, where they removed a portion of his skull bone to allow the brain to swell and not cause further damage. This skull bone, referred to as a bone flap and was stored in a bone bank to be later re-attached to his skull, operation took place on October 23rd 2015.
After 3 hours of waiting, thinking and worrying, David’s brain surgery was completed and we finally got to see him.  It was so hard to see David so hurt and injured but we were all so thankful that he was alive. He remained in a coma and on life support, and now it was up to his body to heal.  From that day on it was a waiting game.  We had so many questions, but all that the doctors and nurses would say was to take one day at a time, because every brain injury is different. As the days went on David made little progress and the doctors started to prepare us for the worst case scenarios.  They explained that he may never wake up from his coma, and if he did he may not know who we were, or might be in a vegetative state, needing to live in a nursing home the rest of his life.  We know that they had to prepare us for the worst, but we were determined to remain hopeful, and stay positive.   David remained in a coma for 11 days, and then on July 26th, 2013 he started to open his eyes; which was amazing and the best day ever! Every little movement David made left us all jumping for joy. David started to make progress and had a tracheostomy and a feeding tube put in. He remained in an aphasia state, which means his eyes were open but he was not able to communicate.  On August 2nd day 17 of David’s journey, he improved enough that he could be transferred out of intensive care to the 5th floor step down unit.  At this point David was making little improvements. David received daily physical therapy and was put in a special Nero chair, so we could wheel him down the hall for a short period in the visiting room; however, he still was unable to communicate with us. With us not knowing what his future life outcome would still be, we were so encouraged just seeing him being discharged from the surgical intensive care unit. After many days in the step down unit, David began physiotherapy with a walker, where two people would assist him by holding him with a walker, as he did not have enough strength to walk on his own. Every step he made was amazing for us to witness.
On August 28th David was transferred to Riverview Health Centre, to be under the care and intense therapy program, for people who have suffered severe traumatic brain injuries. The acceptance to this intense therapy program was to me, and all our family, another blessing and a miracle, because we did not think he would be transferred so soon after his accident. When David arrived at Riverview, the intensive therapy began which including physio, occupational and speech therapy.  This therapy continued for months and even continued when he was able to come home. When David arrived at Riverview he could not talk, he was in a wheel chair and could not even go to the washroom independently.  He still had his tracheostomy and a feeding tube, but within a few weeks they were able to remove both.  It was such a miracle to hear the first time he spoke, he said he knew who we were, but did not know what happened. David was improving and was soon walking with a walker and able to talk more. By the third weekend of David being there, he was able to come home for the weekend. This was the best news that I have ever received. I was so excited that I was finally able to have David home with me and Liam. David received weekend passes from that weekend on.
On September 25th I received the news that David would be discharged from Riverview on October 11th. I was so excited and blessed knowing that we would be a family again, and Liam could spend more time with his daddy.
On July 15th 2016 will mark the 3 years since David’s injury and in that three years David has come so far and has accomplished so much. When the doctors had told me that David might never wake up or be a vegetative state, I knew deep down that it would not be true. David is a fighter and a positive man that never gives up.  He went on to complete his journeyman electrical certification after so many people thinking he could not accomplish such a task after surviving such a traumatic brain injury.  He completed many renovations around our home and family member’s homes with help. David is a hero to me and to so many other people.  Most of all he is our son Liam’s best friend and an amazing father. We thank God for healing David and for the miracles in his continued improvements. David now gives back to the community and has joined a good friend Chris Kasdorf as a volunteer at Riverview Health centre on the brain injury ward.  Chris, also a survivor of a traumatic brain injury was a volunteer at Riverview during David’s stay and provided special encouragement and support.  Since Chris is also a survivor he could relate in many ways to David’s journey and ongoing recovery, making them best of friends.  Now David, together with Chris, provides support through encourage others suffering a brain injuring by volunteering at Riverview Health centre.
I decided to do this run for David and to support other people out there affected by brain injuries. Brain injuries affect so many people in so many ways and it can also be such a hidden injury to the outside world. I would like to raise more awareness of traumatic brain injuries, through a run of David’s journey of the accident and his road to recovery. All the money that I raise will go directly to the Manitoba Brain Injury Association so they can help support other people like David. The run will take place on July 15th 2016 marking the three year date of his injury.  I, and other supporters will be running David’s journey, a total of 42.3 km’s a full marathon. All donations can be made to where there will be a webpage provided with David’s story. Or feel free to contact me with any questions
Hey David, it's a good day to be alive, right?
Please click  David's Journey for more information.