SPRING 2016

HAPPY MUDDY SPRING! IMG_7130

Spring is officially here (per the calendar at least). The New Year brought an incredible winter full of activity, opportunity, and growth.  The New Year brought answered prayer and my 43 year old husband was reunited with his biological mother, brothers, and cousins for the first time in his life! This was the first time Sean had the opportunity to look someone in the eyes that he is related to, it was a powerful 2 weeks full of a lot of emotion and gratitude for answered prayer.  For those of us who know our biological roots it is hard to understand what someone goes through that has never had that connection. Here is a picture of Sean with his biological mother, her husband, his TWO biological brothers, sister in law and our NIECE! IMG_5948-2

The spring calendar has quickly filled up with exciting events!  This April we will be returning to Galveston, TX for the Galveston 70.3 Iron Man.  I am honored to give my medal to a beautiful and brave little warrior this year who has inspired me greatly. Warrior Princess   IMG_4618

On May 18th at 7pm, I will be joining cyclists from all over the globe as we participate in the  National Ride of Silence as state coordinators for Connecticut.  I urge you to participate in a ride where you live.  These are “no drop rides”, and are slow paced for all abilities. The purpose of the ride is to honor cyclists that have been killed and or critically injured.  It is a powerful international event.  Our work as board members with Bike Walk CT has been exciting as we represented CT at the League of American Cyclists summit in DC.

My role as a board member and National Spokesperson with the American Red Cross continues to humble me. I speak at many schools and organizations about the power of blood donations, cpr, volunteerism, and the human spirit.  This year I am excited to be the honoree at the Red White and YOU Gala. To say I am honored is a gross understatement.  My chief trauma surgeon, along with family will be present at this celebration of Red Cross Heroes. For information on this event, click on this link: Red White and YOU Ball!

I look forward to speaking throughout the spring season, and meeting many of you. For those triathletes out there, I hope to see you at an event!  Namaste! The light in ME, is the light in YOU, and the light in YOU, is the light in ME!  Stay purpose driven.  Stay unfiltered.  Always move FORWARD!  lead_courageobevulnerable

 

 

 

Happy New Year. Keep it Authentic, real, and purpose driven.

2016.  I like the way it sounds. Last year I ended 2014 with three massive expanders in my left side, and started 2015 with an 8 hour surgery (January 2nd) to take out expanders, remove several feet of heavily scarred skin and close major gaps with my newly grown and stretched skin from the expanders. I was released home only 2 days later requiring in home nursing care for wound changes and pain management.  2015 started off very difficult. I was back on crutches for some time with drainage tubes for a few weeks until my left side began to normalize.  I required several more procedures of blood drainage in the OR from masses forming due to internal scar tissue build up. IMG_1548 Found myself expIMG_9449eriencing many moments of shear frustration that after so many races and triathlons I felt like I was once again back at a starting line learning basic things again.   I watched my husband do countless wound changes the first two months of 2015 and held onto his embrace when the pain would kick in and various nerves would start to “wake back up and reconnect”.   I once again embraced the feeling of being authentic, vulnerable, and in the moment and I vowed that even when my pain would dissipate and my surgeries would fade out, I would forever live a life raw, and unfiltered in hopes of being a catalyst for change.  2015 brought the honor of being asked to join the board of directors for the American Red Cross and the board of directors for Bike Walk Connecticut. 2015 brought numerous opportunities to speak across the country at races, businesses, medical communities, and in the media. 2015 brought many more finish lines and medals to be given to heroes.  2015 brought so many hugs that just sitting here my smile widens and my IMG_1976heart is warm.  Sean and I had the honor of being flown to Arizona for the National Trauma Conference to receive an award with my trauma surgeon and lead ICU nurse from Yale for how exceptional my treatment and recovery has been.

This past year we finally had our horrid case settle which was in federal court. One of the greatest moments of this past year was meeting David Smith in person and giving him a hug.  David was the first person on scene the day I was run over, he witnessed every gory detail and then stood strong as our main witness for the next several years. DSC01326We bought our first home together. We signed up to be foster parents.  We finally had the funds to not only pay off our medical debt but also hire an investigator to connect my husband with his biological roots as he was adopted at birth.DSC01299  Sean and I began writing our first book TOGETHER, co-authoring on the topic of gratitude.  I was only hospitalized three times for sepsis and circulatory distress (a problem that will be chronic as long as I have the honor to live).  My husbands book proposal on caregiving that he is writing in  tandem with Echo Garret has been completed and is in the next steps towards securinDSC01128g a publisher. My memoir is also
currently seeking a publisher.  We have regained training again, and Sean completed his first FULL Ironman in November.  Our lives have continued on the path of being very purpose driven.

I am not one for New Years Resolutions, because I have always felt we should live each day as if it is a New Year, because it is. In 2016, I look forward to meeting many more of you. I look forward to working with the American Red Cross and helping to raise funds and educational awareness towards disaster relief, blood donations, First Aid, and CPR.  I look forward to continued advocacy work around safer streets.

DSC00897I look forward to the road ahead realizing that nothing is definite.  I realize that change happens in a second.  I realize that I can not control everything that happens around me or to me but I can control how I act and react.

I will continue to take a stand to break down societal barriers about mental illness, anger, violence, chronic pain, traumatic brain injuries, and being ok sometimes not being ok.  We are a HUMAN FAMILY complete with much possibility, may we choose to roll our shoulders back with confidence, and work together to create stronger, safer, and healthier communities. Welcome 2016.  DSC00656


 



 

 

 

Merry Christmas Week!

_MG_9143 It is Christmas week. How are you feeling? Time for a mental self reflection moment. This is a busy week even if you do not celebrate Christmas. The roads are filled with traffic of last minute shoppers, people going home, airport lines are full, grocery lines are full, mall shopping lots are full. How is your heart? How is your mind? If your mind feels as full as the sometimes craziness of this season, take time to close your eyes and listen to the music of your heart beat. Is your heart full? Gauge what is filling your heart. Is it full of love, excitement, joy, compassion? Is it full of sadness and fear? Is it full of both? You are here. We all give gifts to one another this holiday season both tangible and intangible, and remember when we give we can also become slightly drained. Nourish YOURSELF. Give yourself the gift of intangible and maybe a tangible item. Give yourself the gift of self love. Remember when we become too “full” and busy with those metaphorical lines and physical lines we can exhaust ourselves to have joy. Put your hand on your heart, feel that? Your heart beat is beating music from the creation of time. The blood that is beating through your heart is part of the same blood that beat through the son of God. You are such a gift. Your very presence on this earth is a gift. Merry Christmas week my friends. Thank you all for the music of your own heart beats as we move forward on this journey. #namaste The light in me (and the heart beat) is the light in you.

Next Stop! Florida State University on November 6, 2015

This Friday I am honored to speak to hundreds of students at the PEACEJAM Southeast conference at Florida State University. CAN I HEAR A “PEACEJAM?”

The PeaceJam Foundation is an international organization whose mission statement is “to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody.  PeaceJam PeaceJam Southeast

http://www.peacejam.org/about.aspx

 

#CHOOSEYOURDAY 100 days of Summer

A few more days of summer left and the need for blood is vital. http://www.redcrossblood.org/2015-summer During the summer months blood donor collection drops significantly.  As we celebrate summer, we go on Vacations, races, and family bbqs.  So much busy fun time happens in the summer, that people often forget to donate blood.  People who need blood do NOT get a vacation from needing blood transfusions. When trauma or sickness strikes it is immediate and the only way lives can be saved is if selfless heroes are willing to donate.

Remember each time you donate you could have the opportunity to not just save someone else’s life, but your own. #chooseyourday 

May is #nationalcyclingmonth

http://bikeleague.org/content/whyiride-never-give#

Happy National Cycling Month.

This month is part of a national movement to bring awareness to cycling.  This month I will be focusing on raising awareness about cycling safety with both cyclists and drivers. We must all follow one common rule on the roadways and that is RESPECT.  Cycling is such an incredibly fun activity that provides so many health benefits, as well environmental and economical.  Remember to wear brightly colored clothing when you ride.  ALWAYS wear a helmet, and make sure you understand the rules of the road.

Lets make it a fun and SAFE cycling season.

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SPRING !

It is here! Spring! It certainly has been a long winter. The snow in the north east has been consistent and BEAUTIFUL! Always reminded with every snowfall how powerful the silence of snow fall can be. We can learn so much when we listen to the silence and watch the earth become blanketed in white. Things become clean and covered with heavy snow, it is truly powerful.  With the ground finally thawing and life starting to wake back up I am excited to share that my surgery countdown has begun (until Im “finished”). Since my December post, I had expanders removed and massive scar removal on my left side. January 2nd, brought another major5721 surgery which lasted about 7 hours. I am still not able to run, however I am continuing to embrace this journey and much like spring my body is changing and growing with each new day. I do not have any races scheduled this season as my body is too altered medically to allow racing at this point (not that I RACED, rather PARTICIPATED since the trauma).  In late January I was honored with receiving a Heroes award at the Society of Critical Care conference in Phoenix, AZ along with my trauma surgeons.

I hope by late summer that I will be able to start running again.  We have been working on writings dealing with “Finding strength in Vulnerability”, and as I go through these vulnerable phases and find strength, I am honored to share them with you. I will be speaking again this spring and look forward to sharing with you.  Please contact info@colleenkellyalexander if you would like me to come to your event.  Happy Spring! Roll those shoulders back, breathe in that NEW SPRING air, and let your body and cells be fueled with LIFE!

Utmost gratitude and perseverance, Colleen 

Remember you can follow me on Twitter at @colleenkellyal and get daily updates and inspirational posts on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenKellyA