Powered By Hope, An Athlete Faces Her Biggest Challenge

Oct 10, 2014

Teri Griege has always loved sports. She ran her first marathon in 2002 and by 2008 was competing in the Ironman competition – a grueling combination of a 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.3-mile run. Then, in 2009, while preparing to compete in another Ironman, Griege felt oddly tired, older, and noticed some unusual bleeding. Still, with the race ahead of her, she continued with her training, and finished her second Ironman in August 2009.


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A week later she went to see her doctor and discovered that she had stage 4 colon cancer, which had metastasized to her liver. 

 “Stage 4 colon cancer has a five year survival rate of only 6%,” says Griege. “Now I realized that I faced the biggest race of my life”.

 What has helped Griege cope and move forward, faced with such a dire prognosis? “Being in phenomenal physical shape has had a huge impact on how well I have done,” says Griege. And so have the courage, perseverance and discipline of an athlete trained to compete in the 17 hour Ironman competition.

But her illness has also forced Griege to go deeper, to step out of her comfort zone in which she was the strong athlete who could rely solely on her own strength and determination. She reflects:  “It is very humbling to have to ask for help – whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. And even more difficult, once you ask for help you have to be willing to receive it.”

Additionally, fighting cancer led Griege to want to educate others, something she never imagined doing, and to be determined to help and offer hope to others. “Hope is what we all need just to move forward. Hope is how ordinary people endure.”

Griege continues to receive regular chemo treatments, and has just celebrated her 5-year anniversary since her initial prognosis.

Today she is training for the New York City Marathon in November. “If you are lucky enough to know what you love to do, it helps drive your will to live, your will to fight.” And clearly Griege is determined to continue doing what she loves and living life to the fullest while offering hope and inspiration to others.

Check out this recent interview with Teri: Who Is Teri Griege?

 

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Teri Griege has competed in six major marathons and several triathalons. She is also a regular speaker on the subject of colorectal cancer education, and has appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show,  the Today Show, KSDK in St. Louis among others. She is the author of Powered by Hope, (click to order) and her organization of the same name offers education, hope, and recognition to those fighting cancer. For more information go to terigriege.com

 

-- Christina Holbrook, for Gutsy Gals



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