This special story involves three triathlete women making a difference to one accident victim.

Triathletes understand accidents. Every time we straddle a bike and take off for the open road, we risk everything. Some accidents are merely a road rash, but others change lives forever.

At 19, the future should look bright—you’ve plenty of time to discover new opportunities, make mistakes and test out various career paths. But for Emily Rader, at the age 19, her world took a deep, dark twist and changed her future forever. A sophomore at Baldwin-Wallace College, Rader returned home for Christmas break. On Dec. 12th, 2012, after a church outing, her car slid on an icy road causing a major, horrific accident. The prognosis was poor as she suffered traumatic brain injury. Managing to pull through, Rader remained in a coma for four months. For almost two years now, she can’t speak, has difficulty swallowing and eating, and suffers memory problems. She retained some movement, albeit limited.

To raise money for Rader, three triathletes formed Team Emily and competed at Rev3’s Cedar Point Half-Ironman Triathlon in Sept. Sharon Powell, Liz Peck and Janelle Ray of Ohio decided to do the triathlon as a relay and used Emily as motivation. “We TRI when others can’t,” is their motto, obviously very fitting to the situation.

Simply asking for donations wasn’t enough. The women also crossed the finish line with Emily. After pounding through 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running, their reward was to give Emily the experience of also finishing a triathlon.

The women thank Rev3 and how accommodating the staff and volunteers were to make this a lifetime memory for all four involved.

As for Emily, progress continues. With the help of therapists at Ohio State University, she took a few assisted steps and is working on regaining standing balance.

For more information and to donate, please visit teamemilyrelay.com.

For progress and photos, visit the Facebook page at

~ Written by Jennifer Purdie

www.jenniferpurdie.com

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