VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Beth Deloria has set a goal. The Virginia Beach native wants to complete 48 races over a two-year span. If the task doesn't seem daunting, consider for a moment she is without the use of her left ankle.
Deloria suffers from what's known as "Foot-drop." In 2004, a birth defect caused several disks in her back to rupture. A grueling nine-hour spinal-fusion surgery followed for Deloria, but that was just the beginning of the challenges headed her way.
"It turns out, the disk crushed the nerve root," said Deloria, "So, when I came out of the hospital, that's when I realized I had the paralysis." Her doctor informed her that in all likely-hood, she might never be able to walk properly again, and that "running was not anywhere on the table.
"(It was) quite a shock for me," she said, "It came out of the blue."
Deloria, a high school soccer player, enjoyed running all her life. That joy suddenly vanished, and she sank into depression for the following six months.
But Deloria, somehow, found a way--and found the mantra she now lives her life by: "Get up today."
Deloria got up, and thanks to a brand new brace developed in Sweden, Deloria is back up...and running.
"It feels amazing," Deloria said with a slight nod to the heavens.
The brace is fitting known as the "Toe-Off Brace." In short, it keeps her foot perpendicular with the rest of her leg, and springs her ankle properly, giving her the boost needed for jogging or running.
As far as that daunting task of running 48 races in a two-year span? Deloria ran 22 half-marathons in 2012 alone, and plans on crossing the finish line at the Rock N' Roll Marathon in Virginia Beach on Sunday.
The finish will bring her race total to 41.
Her mantra "get Up today" has spread throughout the nation. Deloria is now the face of "Team Up;" the mission of which is to spread the word about foot-drop, about the brace that helped Deloria, and how to help those affected by the condition.
"(The team is) literally pairing people together with foot-drop," Deloria explains, "All different causes, all different demographics, all ages, all over the country and they're all helping me as ambassadors too."
That same mantra that kept Deloria going is now giving a hand up to others that need it; no matter the race, no matter the obstacle that knocks you down, get back up.
"I feel like the luckiest person in the wold..." said Deloria, "I just feel so fortunate to have a job that can change people's lives in the way that mine has been changed."
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