Friday, May 19, 2017

Going the Distance: Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: Oh the places you'll go!

While recovering from paralytic polio at the age of 5, I had a wonderful and wise, compassionate and kind physical therapist Miss Holly. I can still see her face and feel her presence to this day. Despite the abandonment and neglect I experienced from my mother after contracting polio, I was able to experience my earth angel 5 days a week. She picked me up and had me sit on the red leather chairs in Dr. Moskowitz's office (one of the leading rehab physicians in New York who was treating polio survivors) and had me choose a Dr. Seuss book. We read it together and then during the incredibly painful physical therapy sessions, she would have me recite Dr. Seuss back to her in tandem. My favorite was The Cat in the Hat.

I marvel at the fact that, shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, in February of 2007, I began writing poetry in the cadence of Dr. Seuss. The first poem I wrote, "Running the Race" foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

I've had so many incredible running adventures since I began running in Spring of 2008 and met some of the most incredible people along the way such as running greats Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Jacqueline Hansen, Bart Yasso, Jack Fultz, Geoffrey Smith and the list goes on and on and on....

I've been blessed to share my journey and message of healing, hope and possibility at:

L Street Running Club

Marathon Sports Brookline

Celebrated by Phil Lipof and J. Alain Ferry at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run for Prostate Cancer

At The Red Parrot speaking with The Chanticleer Retirement Mens Group

And was featured on Channel 7 News

Merrimack Valley Striders Club being acknowledged by Boston Channel 7's Steve Cooper as an inspirational Boston Marathon story

And then, in July of 2015, I was ready to go to a place I had not been to in 8 years declaring that I would run the Half Marathon in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016.

I took on the longest distance since I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon. The last time I had been in Bermuda shortly after the diagnosis, I wore a leg brace, used a cane, needed a wrist splint and basically felt miserable needing a wheelchair to get around the airports.

I had a triumphant return to the Island and had a most magical experience throughout the entire weekend culminating with this moment of celebration:

We returned for a 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in 2017:

And I'm getting ready to begin training for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in January of 2018.

Ten years ago next Thursday, on 5/25/07 I turned in my keys and left my award winning 20 year career as a VA social worker behind me.

I was off to great places - that day was my day - my mountain was waiting and I got on my way....

I had no idea what the future held for me....

And now,I am getting ready to celebrate Ten Years of Healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma!

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.

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