A year ago when Ahwatukee Foothills resident Shayna Weitzman was hit on her bike by a drunk driver and left unable to use her arms and legs, she was told it would be years before she would be able to accomplish the very thing she’s training to do in just a few short months.
Weitzman recalls feeling herself being hit by the car in the early morning hours of June 30, 2012. When she came to, a friend was holding her hand and telling her everything would be OK.
“I was in trauma for nine days,” Weitzman said. “I couldn’t move my arms or my legs. I was unable to move my legs for about 10 weeks. They wouldn’t bend. They wouldn’t do anything.”
The accident left her with extensive damage to the left side of her body, especially her knee and wrist, but doctors told her nothing would be permanent. Still, they said it would be years before she could get back to the level of activity she was at before.
Weitzman had been a runner since 2008 and started riding bicycles in 2010. She completed an Ironman in 2011.
Throughout her healing she decided to keep a goal in her mind. Despite the doctor’s predictions, Weitzman wanted to complete in the Ironman in 2013.
“I didn’t want this drunk driver to take any more from me than she already did,” Weitzman said. “It’s my way of proving you didn’t take anything from me.”
Though officers were able to track down the Jeep Cherokee that hit Weitzman, which was left torched in the desert, the driver was never charged with any crime.
The Not One More Foundation, which provides support to bicyclists hit by drivers and lobbies for safer bicycling, stepped up to help Weitzman pay her rent and medical expenses.
People Weitzman had never even met signed up to bring her lunch and dinner for months until she could relearn to use her arms and legs. It all helped her stay motivated to heal and move on.
“In between the hospital and the care center I was home for about two weeks and I had strangers come visit me all the time,” she said. “I was amazed. I liked it. It was very nice. If I got nothing out of all of this I got the feeling of being loved. Isn’t that what everybody wants out of life?”
Now Weitzman is walking on her own and even biking, swimming and running, though running is very painful with her damaged knee. She trains for hours each day, before work, to accomplish her goal. She also visits Endurance Rehab for physical therapy once a week and gets treatment from Dr. Aaron Kovac at Back in Line Family Chiropractic in Ahwatukee three times a week, where she also works as one of his assistants. She’s signed up to compete in Ironman on Nov. 17.
“You can do anything you set your mind to,” Weitzman said. “Don’t let limitations stop you from reaching a goal.”
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