Over the years I have attended many motivation talks through the Running Room clinic programs. They are probably one of my favourite clinic nights along with Goal Setting (I love to hear my fellow runners say their goals out loud and proud). In the past we have talked generally about what motivates us, heard from people who have completed 50+ marathons, or read aloud excerpts from stories about parents like Dick Hoyt and Rick van Beek.
Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Dwight Kroening - the first heart transplant recipient to complete an iron man. We sat in silence as he told us about his journey, from the initial bleak prognosis to his final marathon leg of the ironman. He talked about tiredness, pushing through fatigue and at times needing to sit down to brush his teeth because it was too exhausting. Months later a trip to the Dr. would reveal his heart had doubled in size and was functioning at 8 per cent. He was given two months to live at 26 years old and two options: go home and get your affairs in order or try this "new" organ transplant option. After being told, if successful, the transplant would help him return to his prior state of health, Dwight and his family chose the transplant option.
It has been 27 years since his heart transplant in the state of Arizona. He shared that approximately 1% of organ donor recipients live past 25 years. I am guessing that figure was lower in the mid 80's when he opted to try the surgery. Dwight however has never had any rejection issues, something he admits is no short of a miracle.
When speaking about what motivates him Dwight shared three things:
- His children - he and his wife went on to have 3 sons.
- His responsibility to the donor and his family - he shared that he has always felt he had to make good use of the heart he was given and live life to it's fullest.
- His responsibility to the transplant community - to push the norms and to demonstrate how rich and full life can be post transplant.
There is so much more to his story that I am sure I haven't fully captured. At the end of his talk he turned the question on us and asked "what motivates you". Someone in our group said "you do now". So true. So true.
What motivates you to get out there and run or train or live life to it's fullest?