Once disabled, now I'm an Ironman

author : Team BT
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Boston grad student conquers twisted arm, broken leg, to achieve 140.6


“Where you see broken beyond repair, I see healing beyond belief.”




December 3rd, 2008, I suddenly lost the entire use of my right arm- doctors told me there was no possibility of recovery. Eventually, I accepted the term “disabled,” accepted the identity of being the “one-armed girl.”

Ten years ago, I had the audacity to hope – hope that one day I could extend my twisted purple fingers, stretch out my wasted arm that permanently curled against my chest. After years of physical therapy and multiple hospital stays, I was able to transform myself into passably normal.

Five years ago, I once again mustered the courage to dream of a goal so terrifying I would lie awake petrified just thinking of it. I wanted to reject the word “disabled,” show myself what could happen if I dared to leave behind everything I was for the possibility of everything I could be. I started training. I didn't know how, but I was going to become an Ironman triathlete.

One year ago, I broke my leg in training and had to withdraw from my original race. Five months ago, I got back into training. Three months ago, I was in a wheelchair after surgery went awry.

October 2nd, 2021, I swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran a marathon, crossing the finish line after racing for 14 hours, 4 minutes, and 2 seconds.



And today - today I am an Ironman.
Melody S. Harper is a biology Ph.D. student at Boston College, studying the science of regenerative tissue.


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date: October 31, 2021

Team BT