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Need Marathon Inspiration? Read About Kelly Rolo

How long is a marathon? Well, that depends on where you start.

You might say the marathon Kelly Rolo ran last year started in her hospital bed. Four years ago, Kelly was a patient at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Kelly saw runners stream by on the street below her window. “I remember watching the marathon,” she recalls, “and thinking that I would give anything to be one of those runners.”

Kelly had come to Dr. Guy McKhann in the Department of Neurosurgery after she learned that she would need surgery to treat debilitating headaches. Her headaches were the result of an unusual circumstance—when she was an infant, doctors had operated on her to remove a tumor. During surgery, they had inserted a metal plate that was now causing a problem.

Dr. McKhann found that the metal plate was putting pressure on her brain as her brain and skull grew, and it needed to be removed. Kelly’s surgeries at Columbia were successful, and she had relief from the pain.

Kelly describes herself as incredibly grateful for the quality of care Dr. McKhann and his team gave her. During her recovery, she committed herself to a big goal—getting stronger than she had ever been. Starting with only a small amount of exertion, bit by bit she built up her strength.

Two years later, Kelly was able to run a half-marathon, and she rocked it. She dedicated the race to her surgical team. (See our post about that here.) But Kelly had even bigger plans: She set her sights on a full marathon. She would run hundreds of miles to train. And she decided to ask for sponsors so that her running would raise money for the Brain Tumor Foundation.

If you figure that Kelly’s marathon experience began when she couldn’t run at all, she had already traveled quite a distance by the time race morning arrived. But she still had 26.2 miles ahead.

So how did it go for Kelly? Here’s what she had to say:

The marathon was amazing and challenging, both mentally and physically. It was an incredibly beautiful day and amazing to see the city so united. The excitement from the crowds and bands got me through the majority of the race. I think I had a smile on my face for the first 20 miles… but the last 6.2 were rough. As they say, I hit the wall! I was extremely grateful to be part of the marathon. So now I’m a marathoner, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the people who helped me get here!

Huge congratulations, Kelly, on a very long and inspirational journey.

Watch this ABC News video on Kelly Rolo and her remarkable story.
Read more about Dr. McKhann at his bio page here.

patient journey

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