‘He never complained; he just chugged along. It wasn’t easy. It almost felt like I was running.’: Wheelchair user with terminal illness thanks friend for his act of kindness

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“There are many things I struggle with in regards to living with a terminal illness, and one of the big ones is being able to be active. Working out or going for a hike or a run has always been one of the best coping skills and stress relievers for me, and I struggle with not having a comparable activity now that I’m not able to do those things.

Though I usually ran just for fun, I had once set a goal for myself of running a race someday. I figured even if I did just a 5k one day, I could knock it off my list and enjoy the experience. Well, I sat on that goal for too long, and it never came to be.

Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell

Fast forward to today: I came the closest I will to meeting that goal! My friend and fire partner, Michael, who has a lot of miles under his running shoes, teamed up with me to do a 5k together. We chose a virtual 5k that fit our friendship perfectly, mapped out a course, and he pounded the pavement while pushing me in my wheelchair. It was glorious! When I closed my eyes and listened to the rhythm of his feet against the ground, with the fresh air tossing back my hair, it almost felt like I was running.

Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell
Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell

I know it wasn’t easy: he had to navigate getting my wheels across places with no pavement, bump me up and down a few curbs, and push me up some ginormous hills.

Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell
Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell

He never complained; he just chugged along like a freight train. It was such a special day of fun and friendship, and I’m so thankful for Michael’s going above and beyond to help me accomplish something in the best way I could.”

Courtesy of Hannah Mitchell

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hannah Mitchell, 37, from Colorado Springs. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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