In 2010, my best friend, Kristen Cameron, was paralyzed after being hit by a drunk driver while she was training for a triathlon. Kristen and I met at Bowdoin College, where we played women’s ice hockey together. The details of Kristen’s crash were horrific and she is lucky to be alive today, but she sustained a C5/C6 spinal cord injury that dramatically altered the course of her life.
In the weeks after Kristen's injury, I actually spoke with Lee Roy, Travis's father. I grew up around the corner from the Roy's in Yarmouth, Maine and Lee was my middle school hockey coach. He was a steady voice in the emotional chaos of learning that your best friend would never walk again (and that wouldn't be close to the worst of it). Lee offered the wisdom that life will never be the same for Kristen or the people who love her, but you will eventually find a new normal. Over the last decade, I have found this to be true. From multiple surgeries and chronic pain to traveling all over the world as a member of Canada’s National Wheelchair Rugby team and learning to live independently again, Kristen has taught me the resiliency of the human spirit.
But I have also learned the immense suffering that comes with a spinal cord injury, which is why I am running the 2020 Boston Marathon to raise money for The Travis Roy Foundation. Grants for vehicle modifications, home modifications, wheelchairs, and other adaptive equipment are truly life-changing for someone re-entering the world with a spinal cord injury. And TRF's focus on science is crucial to make these devastating injuries a thing of the past.
I hope by running the Boston Marathon, I can take an ounce of the inspiration I've received from Kristen and others with SCIs and energize those around me to donate to such a worthy cause. There is not a run I go on, nor a spin ride, workout, or yoga class that I do that I don't think of Kristen. She crosses my mind when I do littlest things, like put my hair in ponytail or tie my shoes. When I want to complain about something silly, I think of her. And when I want to do something big, like run a marathon, she is my inspiration. So please join me in supporting the Travis Roy Foundation, anything counts - big or small.