Colleen Kelly Alexander is a triathlete and motivational speaker.
After undergoing brain surgery in 2007 for a chiari malformation, Colleen overcame a lupus and cryoglobulinemia diagnosis in 2009, pushing forward to become a successful, competitive triathlete.
In 2011, while on a routine bike ride, Colleen was run over by a freight truck, and after five weeks in a coma and twenty-nine surgeries later, Colleen survived. Rather than let the trauma and PTSD control her life, she became determined to find a way to make something positive from her pain. This is her story.
There are some things you learn when you get run over by a freight truck.
It was a beautiful autumn day and I had just opened up a great new chapter in my life: I was a 36-year-old newlywed with a fulfilling job where I knew I was making a difference in kids’ lives, and my husband and I were doing triathlons together and talking about starting a family. Things were finally going according to plan—and then the plan got set on fire, courtesy of an impatient driver who blew a stop sign.
But you learn.
Mostly, you learn how to be grateful for every tiny thing you probably took for granted before. You spend a lot of time lying down in hospital beds with nothing but your thoughts, and that can go one of two ways: You can drown in your own sorrow (which I did for some time), or you can realise that even with the pain, the permanent disfigurement, the nightmares, and the limitations, life is still not only worthwhile but beautiful.