Woman Suffered Catastrophic Brain Injury & Nearly Died — 5 Months Later, She Ran the Boston Marathon
Just one day before being taken off of life support, she woke up.
Five months ago, Rachel Foster, 35, and her husband John were cruising around their neighborhood in Edmond, Ok. on electric standup scooters when she fell off.
“She was about 20 feet in front of me and she just fell. There was nothing in the road, there was no car. I didn’t know what happened,” John told KOCO News.
“I thought she just had a road rash. I pulled up right beside her and she was unresponsive.”
Turns out, Rachel sustained a severe head injury, along with a total of 17 broken bones. She was placed on life support. Doctors didn’t think she would survive…
…She just ran the Boston Marathon.
Marathoner Suffers Catastrophic Brain Injury
The day after her accident, Rachel underwent emergency brain surgery where doctors removed half of her skull. According to a GoFundMe set up to help cover her medical costs, in the days that followed, she still wasn’t breathing on her own and had no response.
She was in a coma and “deemed unlikely to ever “wake up” or respond.” John and the family made the impossible decision to start the process of organ donation.
But then, at the eleventh hour, against all medical odds, a miracle happened. A mere 24 hours before she was supposed to be removed from life support, Rachel woke up.
“Her medical care was amazing, but this was 100% a miracle,” John said. Her neurosurgeon agreed.
The Road to Recovery
Rachel spent the next few months undergoing multiple surgeries, including skull reconstruction, and in intense rehabilitation with a team of therapists who specialize in spinal cord and brain injuries.
It took weeks for her to relearn basic motor skills. It took 2 months for her to learn to walk again.
Yet, through it all, there was one goal that kept her going; she wanted to run the Boston Marathon.
Rachel qualified for the marathon in 2022 after competing in the OKC Memorial Marathon and she was determined to be there on race day.
Five months after nearly dying, she made the ultimate comeback, making her dream come true.
“I’ve been so excited for this day. It literally helped me walk again. I know that sounds crazy but the thought of doing this, and being here, helped me first walk, then jog, and then run,” Rachel said.
Crossing the Finish Line in Boston
On Monday, Rachel competed in the Boston Marathon with an estimated 30,000 other runners.
In an incredible feat of human resilience, she ran 26.2 MILES in 5 hours, 44 minutes, and 46 seconds.
This is impressive for anyone, but the fact that she ran it, after sustaining a catastrophic brain injury, waking up from a 10-day coma mere hours before being pulled off life support, undergoing multiple surgeries, AND learning how to walk again, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Rachel may not have come close to the women’s winning time of 2:21:38, run by Kenyan Hellen Obiri, but there’s zero doubt that Rachel is the true winner.
Rachel’s story is a testament to the strength of the human body and spirit. Despite facing incredible adversity, she never gave up. She fought back from a catastrophic brain injury and accomplished something her doctors thought would be impossible.
She truly is a walking miracle.
And speaking of walking, Rachel hopes people walk away from her story knowing that hope springs eternal. Even when it seems like there is nothing left.