Achilles Member/Author Colleen Kelly Alexander Shares Her Story of ‘Gratitude’

Connecticut athlete who defied odds to speak at July Achilles Connecticut events

On race courses, Colleen Kelly Alexander prefers to blend in with the other athletes who are giving it their all. Her backstory is an extraordinary one – an athlete who, by all logic, should have died in a horrific accident on a road in Madison, CT. These days, Alexander gives back in a multitude of ways, including penning her inspirational book, Gratitude In Motion: A True Story of Hope, Determination, and the Everyday Heroes Around Us.

Achilles Connecticut member and author to discuss her book

Gratitude in Motion

On October 8, 2011, Colleen was struck by a truck that ran through a stop sign. Run over by both the vehicle’s front and back wheels, from which she sustained serious organ damage, Colleen should have slipped out of consciousness. Instead, she fought. Having previously served as a medic, she said in an interview, “I knew that if I was unconscious, my chances of survival were much less.”

She also noted that a “hero” on the scene called 911 and spread his arms out to protect her from getting run over again. “I am alive because countless people circled my body and gave me cardiopulmonary resuscitations. I needed 80 units of blood.”

Honoring Everyday Heroes
Colleen was in a coma for more than five weeks following the accident. She flatlined twice, and  required 30 surgeries. Recovery was painful, involving physical therapy and wound care that first allowed her to use a walker, and then creep up to unassisted walking.

But the prizes she aimed for were her loves: running, biking and swimming. Also, giving back, in appreciation of the “village” that had helped her at the scene of the accident, in the hospital, and during recovery. “I realized we’re all a human family, we’re all brothers and sisters,” she said. “I started to understand the magnitude of how strong I can be, because we’re all in this together.”

In 2013, with the assistance of Achilles International, a nonprofit running club that helps disabled individuals participate in mainstream sports, Colleen competed in races – including her first half-Ironman since the accident, and the New York City Half Marathon. Today, she’s a regular on the race circuit, but gives away her medals in honor of “the everyday heroes around us.”

On Saturday, July 21, Colleen will tell her story at a 5:30 PM book signing event, to be held in the Windsor Room at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott, 28 Day Hill Rd, Windsor, CT. RSVP here.

On Sunday, July 22, Colleen will be the honoree at the Achilles CT Hope & Possibility ® 5K/10K / fitness walk /kids run presented by Cigna, to be held at the Metropolitan Learning Center, 1551 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield, CT.  Register here.

June 14, 2018

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  • Colleen, your story is one of hope, tenacity, courage, tears, endurance, strength, laughter and love. Your story / book, should be mandatory reading for everyone. All of us would have a little less inclination to complain about our lives when we see it in light of what you and those around have been through………..and survived.
    I read your book in 1 sitting, riveted by your determination and humor. Your story continues to be written and added to every day.
    I am a better person today for having our paths cross on July 21, 2018. Now you are a part of my story and I hope I have become a part of yours.
    With all the love and admiration anyone can give,
    Stu, Celeste & Swanson
    PS: please email us so we can have you over for dinner. It would be so awesome.

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