Staff Blogger: Lexie Digby, Marketing & Graphic Design Manager

Claire Corcoran22yrsIn July 2015, things had taken a turn for the worst for Claire Corcoran.

The girl who loved physical activity and adventure had found herself limited to a wheelchair. After an emergency room visit and an unexpected discovery of illness, Corcoran began a 50-day hospital stay.

“I was unable to move independently and had to begin a long journey of intensive physical therapy,” Corcoran said. “It took six months of physical and occupational therapy in a traumatic brain injury unit until I was able to regain my strength to function independently again. It was a physical and emotional battle every day.”

Corcoran is a 22-year-old college student from Rocky River, Ohio, studying sciences at Cleveland State University with hopes of entering a field focused on physical and mental health and wellness. After a year-long journey through illness and recovery, she triumphantly participated in Lakeside’s 2016 5k Raccoon Run.

Her family owns a cottage, and she has been coming to Lakeside her entire life, both in her happy, healthy years, as well as her recent years of illness and struggle.

“Through everything, Lakeside has remained a place of comfort and joy for both me and my family,” she said. “It naturally reminds us to always be grateful for every moment that we get to spend with our friends and family.”

As a family full of runners, one of those moments that the Corcorans have enjoyed annually has been the Raccoon Run. So when it came time to begin her healing and recovery process, Corcoran motivated herself with the goal of participating in the 5k.

“The run has always been such an enjoyable event for our family each year,” she said. “Seeing all of the participants coming together to enjoy running through the streets of Lakeside is such a great feeling.”

This support and community feeling is what epitomizes the Raccoon Run for Corcoran. Her goal was to be active again, and being able to do so in Lakeside would be the dream come true.

“Other road races that I have participated in don’t even compare to the support that you gain from Lakeside’s community of encouraging spectators,” she said. “A therapist in the hospital told me that ‘sometimes you have to go through the worst to get to the best.’ Recalling her quote, I went through the worst of it with the illness and recovery… and I felt that the Raccoon Run would be an excellent representation of ‘getting to the best.’”

“The best, as I see it, was being able to run through the Lakeside community again because Lakeside is the place that has definitely opened my eyes to the blessings that always surround us – no matter the difficulty of the circumstances.”

Going forward, Corcoran says she has a renewed determination after learning just how strong she is, and she wants to help others find that same spirit.

“If I set my mind to a goal, I know that my hard work can drive me to great achievements,” she said. “Having been overwhelmed throughout my own physical and emotional journey, I have learned that even the simplest acts of kindness cam make a huge difference in getting through the rough days.”

Congratulations on getting to the best of it, Claire!