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Meet #teamsparkle – @runnerunleashed AKA the Scoliosis Runner

October 20, 2016 by The Girls

We think THE best part about Sparkle Athletic is the AHH-MAZING people that make up #teamsparkle. We are so incredibly lucky to “meet” (IRL and virtually) so many team members, but we thought it’s about time we introduced the people that make up this inspiring & motivating community.

With that being said, it’s time to meet a member of #teamsparkle. Next up is the ever inspiring, Gelcys – @RunnerUnleashed!

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Tell us about your past race/running experience:

Gelcys: My past running experience has been a difficult one. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis at 13, had multiple surgeries to try and correct my curving spine that helped for the moment and now have seemed to have gotten worse. It affects my legs and my ribs because it rotates my ribs and they crack. My arm locks up and I can’t move. So why run, right? Because for about an hour of the 24 hours there are in a day, I feel limitless and powerful. The only hour I feel free and like I can do anything. That is why I do it. And just recently, in January to be exact, I’ve been dealt with blow after blow, test after test, in more ways than one. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years back but didn’t really get out of hand until now, unbearable pain, to the point where the clothes on my skin hurt. Then a sudden increase in my chronic migraines led my doctors to find lots of abnormalities in my brain scans. One major one being a brain tumor. Migraines so bad it made me feel weak, sick to my stomach, sensitive to light, sound, and the excruciating pulsating pain. Then out of nowhere, they went from bad to worse and I had TIA, or mini stroke and a month or so later had 2 seizures. It sounds just as bad as it as. I get tired walking around my tiny home.

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But I will tell you this, I am a fighter, a warrior, a person who doesn’t give up. I was given these challenges because I am strong enough to overcome them. I face a challenge head on and I have been doing just that. Little by little, I have been using my medical alert dog to help me walk because my balance has been off, she helps me walk and has alerted me to oncoming attacks. I have been sharing my journey with you all because you can’t give up on yourself. You have to believe you are strong enough to fight and keep going. Everyone fights battles, but believing in yourself is what will get you through it. Don’t think I don’t have my weak days and sit and cry because I do, I just always make sure to get back up. And you should too.

We are so glad you are a part of #TeamSparkle. When did you first join and what color was your first skirt?

G: My first sparkle skirt was the red with white polka dot sparkle skirt that I had my eye on for a VERY long time! Being that I’m a big Disney fan, it seemed like a perfect fit…and it was!

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What/Who inspires you to continue running?

G: To say that one person inspires me is a little difficult because I have many tough days. And battling with Scoliosis, fibromyalgia, and brain disease, pretty much on a daily basis it makes it pretty hard to function let alone run. But I am lucky to be surrounded by some incredible people. Because not only are they unconditionally supportive, but they are also ridiculously strong. So on my tough days when I can’t even get out of bed, or on my days where my rotated ribs have bruised me and breathing is a task, I ask them to share some of their strength and they happily do. They send me messages on how I helped them get through their tough races or their tough training runs, but they do the same for me.

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We all know how much #teamsparkle loves their treats as much as they love running… What’s your favorite indulgence?

G: MY favorite treat is easy, and I make it known…it’s CUPCAKES!!!! I always reward myself after a run with a cupcake!

Which Sparkle Athletic product is your favorite “go to”?

G: My favorite Sparkle Athletic go is a tough question because I LOVE the skirts, but I also love the visors because with my brain disease, I also have to cover my head and eyes and those visors don’t give me a headache. They are PERFECT! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors!

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What is one of your favorite part of racing in a Sparkle Athletic skirt?

C: I have to pick ONE favorite part of racing in a Sparkle Athletic skirt?? Is there such a thing?? Well, running races in a skirt makes it fun, which is pretty much the reason why I do it. I don’t run for PRs, or to win. My running days are numbered, and now suffering from seizures and having had a small stroke, I don’t know what will happen next. But I believe one should enjoy life as best you can, and running is just that. So why not do it in a sparkle skirt!?! Besides, they are comfortable, they are flowy, they come in EVERY color possible, and they make you smile 🙂

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Thank YOU so very much for “joining the team.” Individually each & every one of you is amazing but as a “team” we ROCK.

Everyone has a story, and we want to hear YOURS! The #teamsparkle community is such a loving and inclusive group, but often times we are tackling our runs solo. Knowing your teammates can help you to feel more a part of the running community.

If you would like to share your story, whether it is about how you got started running, what motivates your running, why you love running, or how running has changed your life, please let us know! We would love to feature you on an upcoming “Meet #teamsparkle” post – so email us at meettheteam@sparkleathletic.com!

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