From kidney transplant to triathlete: A mom’s journey with new life

Sports

After a long road on dialysis, Mary Beth Easler needed a kidney.

“I posted my link like every week,” said Easler. “I was like this is your friendly reminder that I need a kidney.”

The plan was to find a living donor, but fate has a habit of interfering with plans.

“A mutual friend’s son was tragically killed on Halloween and he was an organ donor.”

And, a match.

“I was planning on a living donor and it happened this way and all I can really say is, I’m grateful obviously because my son has his mom back and I have my life back and I messaged her from the hospital that Tuesday and just said I just want to say, “thank you.”‘ 

After a long pause, she continues.

“She said, “was it a family member that needed the kidney?” and I said, “no it was me!” and she’s like, “oh my gosh, that makes me so happy!” to know that she had that connection.”

“She” being Noah’s mom, Mia. 

Mary Beth’s surgery was in November and this February, they met in person.

“It was super powerful. It was like, mama to mama. Literally, there are no words. It’s coming out of my eyeballs, those are the words. When you run out of words, it comes out of your eyeballs.”

“In one conversation with his mom, she had said, “promise to live an extraordinary life for my Noah.”‘

Mary Beth is doing just that. The first step is physical, but jumping into her previous active and athletic lifestyle wasn’t easy.

“I wasn’t happy with my results, I was gaining weight, obviously my body was going through a lot. I didn’t want to go to a group fitness class because I didn’t think I could keep up with the pace of it and I was trying to work out on my own, I was trying to do workouts that I was doing two years ago and obviously getting frustrated and I need the accountability and support and the coaching,” she said.

Insert “Tennacity.” Tennacity is a company built to help trauma patients live healthy and active lifestyles by sponsoring their journey. Her trainer, Brook, told her about the program. 

“They sent me the link and I was like this is awesome. Like where has this been? And obviously, Tennacity’s brand new, and I was the first athlete that they sponsor.”

The organization was founded by a trauma patient himself, Thomas Stephenson.

“I was 21 at the time of my accident and had some pretty extensive injuries and was essentially told I was never going to run, play sports, be active ever again,” said Stephenson. “I was going to lead a pretty painful life and it was not a diagnosis I was willing to just accept and so throughout that, I did physical therapy for a number of months.”

It worked but wasn’t enough. 

“I was in a wheelchair for about 5 months and we came to the realization that a lot of people realize when they’re in the position I was in which is we showed up for physical therapy one day and they said I was out of physical therapy visits which was news to me but was told the insurance companies only provide a certain number of PT visits,” he said. “At that stage, I wasn’t walking yet.”

So, he acted.

“It made me realize that throughout my journey that there’s a lot of people facing that same reality and we wanted to make those services available to everybody.”

Mary Beth’s personal training sessions are fully funded by Tennacity. Now, on her own, she’s signed up for a sprint Triathalon.

“it just gave me a purpose every day like there was a lot of things out of my control, but I could control going and getting on a bike every for 20 minutes or getting in the pool for 10 minutes,” she said. “Setting the goal it transcends into other areas in your life so when you get a win of the day you feel like you can accomplish a little bit more.”

Those wins all amount to a new sense of purpose and life. 

“The end result has been confidence because I wouldn’t have gained the confidence that I gained. It’s the ripple effect you know and my kid sees how hard I’m working.”

“Brooke (her trainer) said to me once I think in the middle of a plank, “think about everything you’ve overcome you can do this for 30 seconds.”‘

For more on Tennacity, visit their website.

To make a donation, click here.

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