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Kimberley’s Story

My name is Kimberley Kotar and in March 2006, my life changed dramatically. In February 2006, I was in the middle of training for the Ottawa marathon and I was struggling as I seemed to be having a lot of problems with my legs but I just assumed it was due to the training, I could not have imagined what lay ahead for me.

On March 14th 2006, I could no longer ignore the slight symptoms I was having as I was struck with partial paralysis and neuropathy in both legs and found myself in the ER of the Montreal General Hospital barely able to walk. Three days later; I received the devastating news that there were demyelinating lesions on my spinal cord. Three months after that, I received a final diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis and I was told that I could forget about running another marathon.

As a marathon runner, I can honestly say that losing the ability to use my legs to walk, to run and to race again was just devastating and almost impossible to accept. The very next day I decided not to accept the horrible prognosis that I would never race again or that I spend my life in a wheelchair. I woke up every morning determined to beat this disease through physical therapy and exercise so that I would able to get my life back.

  Almost 6 months to the day of my first MRI, I ran my first half marathon in Montreal-the     city where I was born and raised and reside in. Since my diagnosis I have gone on to run twenty-one half marathons and ten full marathons. With each accomplishment, I feel as though I am winning my battle with this disease.

I truly believe that being physically active and running have been the keys to my beating TM and its deadly effects.

On May 25th and November 29th 2009 I qualified for the Boston Marathon in two separate races. It had been my dream to run the Boston marathon ever since I started running marathons. I had given up on this dream when I was diagnosed with TM and on April 19 2010 and April 18 2011, my dream came true-I completed two Boston Marathons.

I see running the Boston Marathon not only as a personal victory but a victory for every TM patient- we can OVERCOME. The road may not be easy as it is littered with pain and obstacles to overcome, but there can definitely be a rainbow at the end of the journey with TM, I know this to be true as I have lived it. My sincerest wish is that you are all able to overcome TM and  that you are able to fulfill your dreams in spite of it.

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