GREENSBORO, N.C. — In 2004, marathon runner and elite athlete Beth Deloria collapsed on her kitchen floor from severe back pain.
“When I first had this spinal chord trauma everything changed,” Deloria explained.
What You Need to Know
Beth Deloria discovered birth defects in her 30s
She was told she would never be able to run again
Now Deloria is running marathons and competing in triathlons
In her 30s, she found out she had several birth defects that ruptured two of her disks and crushed one of her nerve roots, which led to permanent paralysis in her lower leg.
She had to undergo six spinal surgeries to fix everything.
“It prevented all kinds of activity, and I ended up without realizing it, I got depressed,” Deloria said.
After two years of not being able to run and play sports, Deloria’s life turned around when she discovered the Allard ToeOFF brace, which she explains acts like a springboard and gives her the ability to lift her left leg and run.
Before Deloria found this brace, she was told she would never be able to run again.
“Within three months of getting the brace, I was back at the starting line of a marathon,” Deloria said.
She broke down crying at the start line of the Chicago Marathon because she never thought she’d be able to run a marathon again.
“It was my passion for running that gave me motivation to want to try to find something better to try to get back the quality of life,” she emphasized.
Deloria feels empowered by sports, and she hopes other people with disabilities can find their outlet or tool to enable them to do what they love.
“Your life isn’t over. Your limits are only set by you,” Deloria said.
She said she would never take back what she went through because everything in life to her, like running or a game of golf, is that much more valuable now.
Deloria started her own global support movement “TeamUP” to help others with mobility challenges to find their own quality of life.