When you look at BethAnn Telford, you don't see anything that tells you she's sick. She's a vibrant healthy-looking 43-year-old. Her smile doesn't tell you she's fighting for her life. The fact that she's running an Ironman is an amazing feat in and of itself. But what if I told you that brain cancer had robbed her of her ability to run or walk a few years ago? What if I told you that she'd made a bucket list of all the races she'd run and that this one, the Kona Ironman World Championships was one of the last items on that list?
Beth is a truly amazing person. Rather than wallow in self-pity or anger after being diagnosed, she's gone on to continue running. She's now run a number of marathons and participated in a few Ironman competitions SINCE her diagnosis and two brain surgeries. She's keeps on doing what she loves, which is to compete and run. BethAnn founded TeamBT to raise money for brain cancer research. To date, they've raised $250,000. She also works with and inspires countless kids diagnosed with brain cancer.
BethAnn is part of the Kona Inspired program, which recognizes competitors who are an inspiration to others. They earn a spot in this competition by inspiring others to keep moving forward. The video above came from that competition. You can find a wonderful piece on her journey to Kona here at espnW. My favorite part of the story is what happened after her first surgery:
After the surgery, which removed part of the tumor, Telford couldn't stand or walk. Dr. Brem told her there was a 90-percent chance she would never run again. Slowly, she retaught herself to move, taking small steps, then bigger ones. She returned home and began walking laps around her neighborhood. Less than four months after the surgery, she entered her first race, a 5K in her hometown of Camp Hill, Pa. She walked the first half, but after seeing her father cheering on the sidelines, she began to run.
Four months after being told she had a 90% chance of never running again, there she was running in a 5k. BethAnn is a beautiful example of what an indomitable spirit is. Here's to her future and to all she's done to fight brain cancer. Click to find BethAnn's organization, teambt.org.