AOTM-Athlete of the Month: Caryl Pawlusiak April 2013
The April 2013 Athlete of the Month is Caryl Pawlusiak.Her mom writes: My husband and I can hardly believe that this is our daughter who has turned into an athlete. When she was diagnosed with MS in 2006 we were all devastated but Caryl picked herself up and got on with her life, never letting MS define her. She started running about a year and a half ago and has never looked back. She feels great and her MS doctor at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon is thrilled with her care of herself and how she has taken control.
Caryl is a first grade teacher at the Underhill School in Hooksett, the same school she attended as a child. She is a graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, MA and has a Master’s degree from New England College in Henniker.
Diagnosed with MS a year after getting married, Caryl started to walk and then run refusing to let MS run her life. She formed a team the “Pawlusiak Pavement Pounders” 4 years ago and each year we walk 5 miles to help find a cure for MS. Caryl also started running some 5K races (Cigna, Shamrock Shuffle, Santa Shuffle, Snowflake Shuffel, Footrace for the Fallen) which then turned into a goal of running a half marathon. With a smile on her face, Caryl completed the Half Bay marathon.
Caryl’s friend Tracey writes: Here’s a post off Caryl’s FB page from her husband Jake which brings tears to anyone’s eyes when you realize what a great goal Caryl has accomplished.
“Caryl when we got married almost 8 years ago you were the girl, who at age 18, had faked a twisted ankle to get out of running the mile in gym class, and at age 24 not much had changed haha. Less than one year into our marriage you were diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that effects the central nervous system but you made a conscious decision that day it would NOT define you! Yesterday you crossed the finish line of a half marathon! 13.1 miles of hills but you did it and made it look easy, although we all knew it wasn’t. You braved zero temperatures and snow, but were determined to stick with your training. Caryl you have the heart of a champion and the will of a fighter. I love you and am so proud! You keep wearing that medal as long as you want, you’ve earned it!”