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Keeping the Faith




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2 years ago, after reaching 316 lbs from nearly 15 years living an inactive, sedentary life, Greg began a weight loss journey. Through diet and exercise he lost 85+ lbs and was able to set and climb his goals of Mt Fuji (Japan) and Mauna Loa (Hawaii) with his newfound health. However, in 2015, a 2.9-cm tumor called vestibular schwanomma was discovered impinging his brain. After the all the research, discussion, worry, hospital visits, MRIs, and tests, Greg hit the gym hard to prepare for surgery both cardiovascularly and neurologically. He even joined step aerobics and group plyometrics classes as pre-surgical vestibular rehab – something he never imagined ever doing! Finally, his brain tumor was removed via a retrosigmoid craniotomy January 2016 at Mayo Clinic. Although it immediately affected his balance and ability to walk, facial droop, control of an eye, sense of taste and permanently severed the audio and balance connection to one ear, Greg worked hard to get back to work and gym within a few weeks. Persistence weight-lifting enabled him to regain much of his strength, balance, and he eventually exceeded all of his weight-lifting personal records this year. Meanwhile, even during his post-surgical recovery period, Greg continued to pursue his love of animal rescue, rescuing and transporting many dogs this year from kill-shelters. He also participates regularly with local and online brain tumor support groups speaking to new and fellow patients experiencing similar issues and offering guidance and support as they find their own path to wellness. Greg feels passionate about paying forward the life that was returned to him by his neurosurgeons and to support patients especially those going through far tougher times and worse situations than he was in. Post-surgery, Greg continues to struggle with regaining his cardio fitness and still has a difficult time running. But he is trying and keeps trying. This event will be his 11th 5K since neurosurgery 9 months ago.