TAMPA BAY,FL., Thursday, February 20, 2014… Colleen Kelly Alexander is a lifelong athlete and motivational speaker who inspires positive change, contribution, determination and actionable gratitude.
After undergoing brain surgery in 2007 for a chiari malformation, Colleen overcame a lupus and cryoglobulinemia diagnosis in 2009, pushing forward to become a successful, competitive triathlete.
In 2011, while on a routine bike ride, she was run over by a freight truck. Colleen received well over 70 blood transfusions – including whole blood platelets and plasma – after her body was left so drained of blood her heart lacked anything to pump. Requiring full resuscitation twice, Colleen remained in a coma for over five weeks. She endured multiple surgeries and severe wound management as her broken body struggled to heal.
Defying diagnoses, dire predictions and death, Colleen stunned doctors by bucking the odds and coming back to run more than 30 races and complete eight triathlons, including a half Ironman in August 2013.
To date, Colleen has required over 20 surgeries to put her body back together. But she has been embraced by heroes: the bystander that ran into the road to stop traffic after she was run over, the emergency medics on scene, and the countless medical professionals in the trauma bay.
Colleen’s philosophy of actionable gratitude is one she puts into play with every event, speaking engagement and personal challenge.
As an official American Red Cross spokesperson, Colleen speaks at all blood donation related events and is an advocate for Disaster Relief and CPR education. Colleen takes the time at each event to honor an individual who has contributed to one of these causes.
While she is here in Tampa, Colleen will be a featured speaker at Gasparilla Health & Fitness Expo and will run in the Gasparilla Distance Classic.
As per Colleen’s conviction to honor a hero, she will present her race medal to Barbara Buckland, a Red Cross CPR instructor. A few months ago, Barbara taught CPR to the employees of a local company. Just a few weeks later, two of those employees used the skills they learned to save a 17-month old baby that had quit breathing.
Barbara is dedicated to teaching others how to save a life.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.