A Running Miracle

In illness or heartbreak or financial woes, at our very worst, we often–inexplicably–run through the pain.

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18-year-old Kayla Montgomery, who has MS, running. Credit: Winston-Salem Journal

Last week at our editorial meeting, all the editors were abuzz over the story of Kayla Montgomery, an 18-year-old from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She truly is a living, breathing–and running–miracle.

Three years ago, Kayla was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was never the fastest runner on her track team. But after her diagnosis, something amazing happened: She found that her illness–known for slowing people down–actually gave her an unusual advantage: She could run at remarkable speeds without feeling pain.

According to The New York Times, Kayla told her coach at Mount Tabor High School, “Coach, I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to run fast.” She’s now one of the nation’s fastest distance runners!

“When I finish, it feels like there’s nothing underneath me,” Kayla said. “I start out feeling normal and then my legs gradually go numb. I’ve trained myself to think about other things while I race, to get through.”

I find Kayla’s story especially inspiring. I was diagnosed with MS when I was 23. I have a very mild case, but once in a while I have those days when I’m so worn out and my legs are acting up. I just want to hide out in my apartment, rest on the couch and put on Roman Holiday (watching Gregory Peck can be healing!). Instead, I get up and charge ahead. Sometimes it confuses me. I can’t really explain how I’m able to press on, though I know it has little to do with me. There’s some sort of divine force at play, pushing me to go, go, go. A strange surge of inner strength. I suspect a lot of us experience it, whether we’re going through illness or heartbreak or financial woes. Just like Kayla, at our very worst, we somehow–inexplicably–run through the pain.

“The disease has no potential to make her physically more competitive,” Kayla’s neurologist, Lucie Lauve, said. “If M.S. has made her a better athlete, I believe it is a mental edge.”

And that’s the real miracle, I think. Not just that Kayla can run like the wind with M.S., but the “mental edge” that only comes from God.

Have you ever encountered a living, breathing miracle? Share your story by commenting below!

Photo credit: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Winston-Salem Journal

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