What goals have you told yourself that you can’t achieve? None would likely be the answer from 34-year-old Misty Diaz. Born with severe spina bifida.
Spina bifida is a condition that affects approximately 1,500 babies each year in the United States. This disorder primarily affects the spine and is considered as a type of neural tube defect (NTD).
The development of spina bifida can occur anywhere along the spine and usually forms when the neural tube does not properly close. When this happens, the backbone protecting the spinal cord does not fuse completely, leaving the spinal cord exposed. As a result, this often can lead to a higher risk of damage to the sensitive spinal cord and its corresponding nerves.
In an effort to correct Misty’s disorder, she has undergone 28+ surgeries from birth. Due to the physical restrictions placed on her due to her illness, she frequently fell into deep cccdepressive spells. But, after overcoming her opioid addiction in her mid-20’s, she set her sights on proving to herself and the world that nothing was out of reach.
She started with small physical feats like walking to the mailbox, then walking around the block, using her crutches. Before long, she was confident and well prepared to attempt her first official race. In 2012, she ran the Ronald McDonald House Charities 5K.
With her coach in her corner, she set the limit even higher and trained to complete various obstacle course events, half marathons, and even the Red Bull 400, a challenging foot race up the steeply vertical Olympic ski jump in Park City, Utah. When others would give up, Misty has been known to use her crutches to support her through the race, or even ditch them and use nothing more than her arms to pull her through the remainder of the course.
With over a dozen races under her belt, she committed to getting her body ready for a Spartan Race. She gets no special accommodations for her races and runs the same course with the same body-pushing obstacles as regular runners.
Adapted from a story featured on: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/15/health/tp-misty-diaz-spina-bifida-obstacle-racing/index.html