By: Shannon Steele
My name is Shannon Steele. I have pretty much lived in Charlotte all of my life. I currently work for the US Postal Service and have been there for about 14 years. I am the mother of two of the most wonderful children, Jaedyn, 9 and Jaeda, 2. I always thought about being a runner but never took the time to train or even pursue the goal. I never thought that the goal would be even further away when I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure in 2010 after having my daughter. I almost died. It was a very devastating time for me. I could not carry my new baby up the steps in my home or let alone do something as simple as walk around in the local Wal-Mart. I would get so tired and out of breath that simple task were hard for me. I have always said that my strength comes from God and through my children. I was determined that I was going to snap back and take charge! Not just for me but for the fact that I had to let my children see that with God all things are truly possible.
One day I was working at the Post Office when Loree came to the open a PO box for the Purple Butterflies. We began to talk and she told me about the group. This was my chance. I can’t begin to tell you how much she and this group have made an impact in my life! Just when I thought my goal of being a runner was just a dream never did I think it would become reality. I started this past March, two months before the two year anniversary of my diagnosis. The first runs were tough, but I caught on. I started out slow because I knew that I had Heart Failure. I have gone from running a couple of minutes at a time to running miles. Of course you have those people that know about your condition and looked at me like, “Your doing what? Have you consulted your doctor?” No I hadn’t actually consulted my cardiologist, but I did consult my doctor and that was God!
Since running with the Butterflies my health has greatly improved! My heart function has gone completely back to normal. Even my cardiologist was surprised. Since joining in March I have been able to run three 5K runs and one four mile run. Just two years ago I had to leave my home cause I couldn’t walk up and down the steps, and look at me now!
Hopefully I will be able to run the 10K planned in August and I would eventually like to run a Half Marathon. Anything is possible.
My first advice to anyone who thinks they can’t be a runner I say to you, you won’t. Get your mind right and be positive. Positive energy brings on positive things! If you think you can you will. You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone and step out with an open mind. Know that you will conquer this just like anything else. If I can do it with a bad heart surely you can too!