It was a beautiful fall day in Connecticut when Colleen Alexander, a lifelong competitive athlete, rode her bike home from work, having just learned her job with the nonprofit PeaceJam was secure. She had survived a diagnosis of lupus and brain surgery that almost took her life, and was married at last to the love of her life, Sean. Life was good as she met the eyes of a truck driver rolling up to the stop sign beside her.
He didn’t stop.
The truck hit Colleen, running over her lower body with front and back tires and dragging her across the pavement. As she bled out in the street, nearby stranger surrounded her and the driver attempted to get away. An EMT herself, Colleen knew she had to stay awake. “I’ve just been reconnected with my soulmate,” she told the medic. “We want to have a baby. I can’t die now. Please don’t let me die.” Colleen spent five weeks in a coma and had 29 surgeries. But she survived, and despite losing her job and suffering from PTSD, she began to focus on all the heroes who saved her life. Determined to find a way to make something positive from her pain, she decided she’d run again. She would dedicate her race medals to the everyday heroes around us, including the medical staff and the 156 blood donors who saved her life.
Since the accident Colleen has run 50 races and completed 40 triathalons, including 4 half-Ironman events (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13.1-mile run). She is now a spokesperson for the Red Cross, and shares her incredible inspirational story to encourage others to take that first step forward.