Adam Petraglia's Page
I guess you could use a little introduction into who I am and why I'm doing this, and the story goes....
On my 11th birthday, I got a gift that would forever change my life..."Adam, you have cancer."
The first thing that was running through my mind was when I was going to get out of this creepy, cold hospital and get back on the soccer field! I was assured that chemotherapy would start the next day and I would be out of the hospital in 2 weeks. That was not the route that was written in my playbook.
The next day, my body took a hit from the nastiest player out there: Leukemia. I did not respond to the treatments and my body was beginning to shut down. My kidneys failed, I was put on dialysis, and my dosage was reduced dramatically. This all begin a 6-month stay that would define my life into the future.
During my stay, (I became one of those patients that everyone in the hospital knew) I was put into a drug-induced coma for 5 weeks because the pain was to substantial for me to withstand. During this time on my journey, it seemed as if I was caught in a run-down between second and third. Doctors told my parents that there was nothing more that they could do to save me; medicine was no longer a factor. A 10% chance of living and 90% chance of dying meant the same thing, but I had to start fighting them differently.
I opened my eyes in August of 2001 and the journey back to a normal life was about to begin. I left the hospital completely crippled to a wheelchair (I had developed drop-foot and muscle atrophy in both feet/legs); I couldn't walk, feed myself, or go to the bathroom by myself. I attended intense physical and occupational therapy each day, 3 hours a day. By December of 2001, I was walking with a walker and orthotics that came up to my knees. I have progressed throught the years and through the stages of orthotics and now walk without them, but still with drop-foot.
Before I was sick, sports were my life and they still are. I was always in the backyard playing with all the neighborhood kids, and I played soccer year-round. But after my diagnosis, playing sports unfortunately took a backseat. Each day of my life, I've regretted the missed opportunity to play football for my high school. When I was a kid, there was nothing more that I wanted other than to run out on that field, under the lights, with all my friends, and make my dad proud.
This new journey, the 2012 Chicago Marathon, is a new opportunity; an opportunity to prove physical and mental endurance, to prove that I can compete, to prove that I can finish, and to make those that love me proud.
Due to my physical challenges, I will be competing in the handcycle division for Team One Step. Now, I am not Lance Armstrong on the handcyle and I have never competed in a handcycle race. But I can promise you that my power of will and personal humility will carry me throughout this endeavor. I may not be the fastest, the strongest, or the best at anything...but I have the heart that will never let me give up.
Camp has been a part of my life since I was 12 (as a camper, and now a counselor), and the least I can do is ride for those kids that can't.
I could never thank you enough for simply reading about my story; and whether it be $53, $17, or 37 cents, I could never express my gratitude towards a generous donation.
From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.
"Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up!"