Oftentimes when discussing NF I tell people that as challenging as it can be, if it weren't for NF I would have missed out on meeting some of the most awesome people I know. My friend Sarah Johnson is one of them! We met a few years ago when she first started running for the team in Long Beach, and over time she has inspired me with her amazing attitude.
Sarah has NF1, which is different from NF2. She does not have tumors on her hearing nerves like people with NF2, but NF1 can still cause tumors on any nerve ending as well as learning disorders. Having Sarah at our events each year is always uplifting, I have never seen that girl without a smile on her face and her enthusiasm is infectious.
Earlier this year I got a panicked email, Sarah was at work when she passed out cold. After being rushed to the hospital they found a large tumor on her brainstem! This was a complete shock to her, and a serious medical emergency. She was admitted right away and within a week she was having major brain surgery for the first time in her life. As soon as she was able to communicate again she was sending messages through her family to let us all know she did fabulously, thank God.
Now after having major brain surgery you would think Sarah would need months of time to recover before even thinking of running again, but within a month she was jogging and trying to get her strength back! She was actually upset that she wasn't as fast as she had been before surgery and frustrated by the speed of her recovery. I think most people would have gotten in bed and pulled the covers up over their heads, but not Sarah, she just kept pushing and training and recently she announced she will be running with us in Long Beach this year!
I am excited to see my friend, and proud of her for how far she has come in her journey. No matter what her finish time she will win because we all have to run our own race, and Sarah shows me that every day!
Check out Sarah's fundraising page and read her story: