We’ve got shoutouts for Wilton runners who ran Sunday’s TCS New York City Marathon, all on behalf of important causes. If you have a story or a special someone who ran the race to benefit a cause or fundraiser, send us an email with pictures and details.
Selina Santos, American Heart Association
Selina Santos defines badass.
In the last 16 months, the Wilton resident has run 19 half marathons and five marathons, finishing her most recent long-distance race this past Sunday in New York.
On top of being a successful professional–she’s the executive producer of an NBC Universal daytime talk show–she also teaches spin class at JoyRide in Wilton and speaks to raise awareness about heart health. And it was in that vein that she ran the TCS New York City Marathon as part of the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Team, raising over $3,700 for the organization. But she participated in the marathon not just as a supporter of the AHA, but as someone with serious heart disease herself.
“After years of having symptoms and being dismissed that I was just ‘stressed’ it got to a point where it became unbearable. I found it difficult to walk up a short flight of stairs. I have a high stress job and one afternoon found myself having the most intense chest pains I have ever experienced. I sought the advice of a cardiologist who changed my life. After a myriad of tests, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Aortic Insufficiency, and multiple valve issues. I was put on strict guidelines to incorporate exercise, healthy eating, cut down on stress or I would suffer the worst case scenario. I didn’t take her advice lightly, I made it my mission. I wanted the lifestyle change over surgery or worse.”
Working with her physician, Selina took on the goal of running a marathon, training for four years to get her heart ready and be cleared by the doctor. It’s all part of her effort to raise awareness about heart health.
“Since my diagnosis, I have made it a mission to spread heart disease awareness to everyone. New York will be my ultimate accomplishment and proof that heart disease can be reversed,” she says. “I want to share my story that you should never ignore the symptoms. To remind people that Heart Disease is the number one killer, know your blood pressure numbers, make a lifestyle change and that if you are diagnosed, you can still be unstoppable!”
As she says in this Facebook post, “My message will still be clear–I have Heart Disease and I am UNSTOPPABLE.”
Bobby McDowell, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Riverbrook/Wilton YMCA CEO Bob McDowell let us know about his son, Bobby McDowell, who ran the NYC Marathon Sunday in support of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Bobby ran in honor of family friend JP Kealy from Wilton, who beat multiple myeloma after a 2017 stem cell transplant; and in memory of his own aunt, Esther Dimon.
Bobby and JP’s son, Tommy Kealy, ran the NYC Half Marathon this past spring–their first road race ever. They caught the bug and decided to again support the MMRF by taking on a second race, this time the big one, the NYC Marathon. Unfortunately Tommy was unable to participate due to a recent injury but was there for good friend Bobby–the two are former Wilton YMCA Wahoo teammates and co-captains of the Wilton High School swim team. Together they raised over $3,300.