Friday, December 2, 2011

Amazing people with more amazing stories

For most people waiting in the registration line and sitting around for an hour to get into the water is what they hate most about triathlons.  I find this to be the best time.  You get to hear everyone stories.  Most are pretty lame (like mine), some are about losing weight, yet others are simply amazing. 

Shawn's Ironman

At the FL 70.3, while waiting the hour before my swim, I met MathewHis story is amazing.  You can read about it here
Mathew has a 2 year old son called Shawn who was born with “several urological conditions including a multicystic dysplastic kidney and then diagnosed with a patent urachus. He had to have surgery at 10 days old to correct the leaking out of his belly button. During that surgery they went in and determined that he also had a very rare condition that, to the doctor’s knowledge, closely relates a bilateral urethra (I have coined “Shawn’s Urethra” after my son since there has never been a case like his) where his urethra split near the prostate and exited behind his scrotum. There has been very little research or studies regarding his condition, but everything that came back said he was the youngest to undergo the surgery to reconstruct and remove his 2nd urethra at 7 months old. At that time they also removed the cysts where his kidney should have formed. At 14 months old he underwent a third surgery to repair a tethered spine."
Mathew is now doing triathlons to raise money for research into this rare medical condition.  I have talked to him several times since that race and he is a great guy.
Sharon and Scott at the Lake Norman Triathlon
The smile tell the true story.

While waiting in line at the Miami Man 70.3 I met Scott and Sharon Callahan and their story is also amazing.  I will summarize it here but the links below do a much better job.  One day Sharon started having headaches.  Those headaches grew worse.  These headaches were caused by a brain infection which eventually robbed Sharon of many of her past memories and her ability to create new memories.  She did not remember who her child and husband were but remembered her truck and how to drive it.  She did not know the name of a toaster.  It was just the toast heating up thingy.  Many memories still have not retired to her and Scott must remember them for her.  Many mornings are started out with her writing reminders on her forearm with a Sharpie marker.  Reminder labels must be placed on many items in the house.
Eventually the stress got to Scott and he started gaining weight.  At one point he was up to 377 pounds.  Sharon tricked Scott into going to see a doctor by “forgetting” where she was driving.  Scott decided to forgo the gastric bypass surgery and lose the weight through diet and exercise.  The couple then decided to do triathlons together.  Scott then lost 150 pounds. 
Each race Sharon must relearn most of that she learned.  It is like every race is her first race.  Scott and Sharon get permission to do the entire race together so Scott can remind and help Sharon throughout the entire race.  She needs to be reminded on when to turn, what to wear and when,  what she will be doing next, etc
The links below do a better job explaining this complex story.  I highly suggest you read and watch the videos.  They are simply amazing.
Scott and Sharon are great and nice people.  I was a great pleasure talking to them and hearing their story.  I hope to see and talk to them again in the near future.


  1. Wow, those are both amazing stories. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  2. Amazing stories! Thanks for sharing them with us!

  3. Those are amazing stories! I have always hated that waiting around part. Maybe I need to become more social! Thanks for sharing Kevin!

  4. Amazing is right! Makes me remember how truly lucky I am. Thanks for sharing

  5. It was great meeting you Kevin. I also meet great people at events and am always inspired. I really use the running tip of being able to talk while I run a little too much so if you don't have a ipod - beware. Hope to see you at more tri's. Just did my first 1/2 marathon yesterday