WLWT: Cincinnati woman to compete in first Flying Pig Marathon after surgeries

Running a marathon is an impressive feat in its own right, but it is an especially momentous accomplishment for Lauralee Wheat, who will be competing in Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon this weekend.

Wheat was in two car crashes within a few months of each other in 2015, with the trauma of the crashes leaving damage to her back and ongoing pain. After multiple surgeries and consultations with various doctors, Wheat said she was nearly bedridden and told to accept her life of pain.

A classmate recommended Wheat visit the University of Cincinnati's Joseph Cheng, MD, for another opinion. Cheng performed another surgery in 2018, and Wheat was cleared to resume normal activities, including running, the next year.

"I think it's a huge deal that she went from being someone who was very debilitated to now living the life that she wants," Cheng, associate director for the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and Frank H. Mayfield endowed chair and professor in the UC College of Medicine's Department of Neurosurgery, told WLWT. "That's really the goal of really a lot of our medical care is to really avoid disability and to try to give people, in a sense, their life back to how they want to live it. And again, it just it's a sense of pride, but again, it's also a sense of her motivation to continue to become healthy again."

"Sometimes it's going to hurt. At times it's not always going to be pain free, but you have to just give yourself credit and do the best you can," Wheat said. "And to be able to go into this marathon weekend uninjured, at this point, is amazing to me."

Wheat is using the marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society to honor her mother, who died from cancer.

"Don't give up," Cheng added. "I know sometimes when patients like Lauralee have been through treatments and just things don't seem like they're working and becoming pretty frustrated, it's easy to become depressed and despondent and just say, you know, this is the way it is overall, and there's nothing wrong with getting another opinion."

Watch or read the WLWT story.

Read more about Lauralee's story.

Featured photo at top of Lauralee Wheat, left, and her husband Kevin. Photo provided.

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