In my last blog about Medtronic Global Heroes, I wrote about meeting the engineers who designed my nerve stimulator. The other part of the experience that was, well, magical, was meeting the other 24 Global Heroes.
I’m not sure what I expected of the program prior to flying to Minneapolis, but I know for sure I did not anticipate connecting so fiercely with the other runners. It is astounding to me that after three days, our bond is so strong that they feel like family. When I see pictures and videos of them, I sense a familiarity in their faces that I only feel with other friends after I know them for years or decades.
On the surface, we all have medical conditions. And we all continue to run with the help of medical technology.
But our connection is so much deeper than that: the other runners know what it is to struggle with a depleting, chronic medical condition. They know what it is to be in pain, to be fatigued, to sometimes spend hundreds of days in a hospital. They know how demanding an illness can be and how it sometimes requires constant maintenance and attention. They know how hard it can be to get off the couch and go for a run, how impossible it sometimes feels.
Most importantly, the other Global Heroes understand why continuing to run with our medical conditions is so life-affirming, so healing.
In the words of one of the other runners, we are all over-comers.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to meet 24 strangers and like ALL of them so much. Here’s the thing about them: they are all ambitious, genuine, empathetic, mentally tough, and positive to the max.
They set goals and reject limitations, they are authentic in their connection with others, they care deeply about their friends and family, they don’t let set-backs stop them, and they are so excited and happy to be doing life.
I’m sure that when Medtronic read our applications, our essays and recommendation letters, they searched for runners with those characteristics as well as they could without meeting us. But I also think the fact that all of the other Heroes share those attributes is a testament to what it takes to overcome and thrive after a major life crisis. Maybe these are the traits that make someone resilient and able to achieve despite incredible hardships.
It’s an honor to know the other Global Heroes, and they motivate me every day. During the times when I am too focused on my headache, I feel negative and drained, or I feel like skipping a run, I think of them. I think if they can do it, I can too. Every day I strive to be more like them.
The kinship I have with my Global Heroes family is the greatest gift Medtronic could have given me. They inspire me, and I hope they inspire you, too.
You can meet the other heroes here.
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