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runDisney Inspirational Story: Christine Malley

Thank you for sharing!

It has been a month since I decided I am going to sign up for 2017 Disney Princess 10K. Time to check in with you all and share with you a runDisney inspirational story from a fellow runDisney runner!

My progress:

Pounds Lost: 4 pounds (not much, next month will be better)

Miles Walked since 1/10/15 (according to my FitBit): sadly, I misplaced my Fitbit for 90% of the month so I don’t have a number for this month. I found my Fitbit so next month I will have a number to put in this spot!

runDisney Inspirational Story: Christine Malley

runDisney Inspirational Story

Photo courtesy of Cigna Health. Text added.

Cigna customer and Achilles athlete

Christine Malley is 29 years old from Minneapolis, MN., with an inspiring life story. Christine is blind in both eyes, but she wasn’t born that way. Two years ago, Christine went from being a perfectly healthy twenty-something to having a rare spinal disease that left her blind in both eyes. Today, she’s stronger than ever, living life on her terms in a seeing-person’s world. Every day, she breaks through anxieties and chooses to pursue her dreams which include completing her 5K at the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon event in January, and graduating college with a degree in computer forensics.

“When I’m feeling anxious, I remember God has a plan for me, and that it could always be worse.” You can hear Christine’s optimism and youth in her voice when she speaks. She adds, “I believe I will come out a stronger person.”

Christine’s journey into darkness began September 13, 2013 when she awoke with a stiff neck and headache. She remembers it vividly. In a few short weeks the headaches became severe, and she had problems focusing her vision and tingling in her left arm and hand. That’s when she went to see her doctor.

“After that, it was a whirlwind of going to doctors,” said Christine. By December, her eye sight was gone. Christine was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Pseudotumor Cerebri, a disease where spinal fluid does not properly drain and which causes brain-tumor-like symptoms such as blindness, and in Christine’s case, additional nerve damage which caused a loss of smell and taste.

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day she underwent two sheath fenestration surgeries to drain the spinal fluid. For a more permanent solution, she underwent brain surgery on February 4, 2014, and received an intracranial shunt.

By April, she was unable to return to work and was let go from her job.

As a newly blind adult, Christine’s life would continue down a much different path than what she or her parents had imagined. Her parents encouraged her to not wait and to enroll in Blindness training school.

“It gave me back my life,” said Christine of the 9-month program where she lived with other blind students and learned how to do everything independently. Christine now lives in her own studio apartment and navigates Minneapolis independently by foot and public transportation. She continues to challenge herself with new goals that excite her including completing the 5K event in Disney World as a sponsored Achilles athlete.

Christine’s strong desire to get back to her active lifestyle is what led her Cigna vocational coach, Betty, to recommend Christine to participate in the Disney World 5K last January. Christine’s mom  joined her.

“To prepare for my 5K in Disney World, I’ve challenged myself to walk one mile a day each week, and I do a warm up program developed by Achilles provided by my trainer Barbara, and vocational coach, Betty. When I cross that finish line that will feel great! I’m also looking forward to being in Disney World with my mom, who along with my dad, have been my greatest supporters.”

Thank you for sharing!

Audrey T

Wednesday 17th of August 2016

What an inspiring story!