Following Spinal Surgery, Avid Runner Races Toward the Boston Marathon

“When you mention the word ‘spine,’ you think right away, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to lose my ability to walk.’” That’s what Carolina Ortega, an avid long-distance runner, feared when she learned she had a tumor growing inside her spinal cord. She turned to the University of Miami Health System, desperate for a miracle.

Dr. Allan D. Levi, a neurosurgeon with the University of Miami Health System, assessed Carolina’s unusual and complex case and tried to prepare her for realistic outcomes following her surgery. “I was looking for things like being able to walk,” the fellow marathon runner admitted. “The concept of her running a marathon after this type of surgery … I pretty-well thought it would be impossible.”

“The fact that she’s going to run the Boston Marathon, that — to me — is just superhuman,” he said.

Watch her story.