Colorado Teen Rides in Courage Classic to Benefit Children’s Hospital – Day One

Colorado Teen Rides in Courage Classic to Benefit Children’s Hospital – Day One

August 21, 2009 | Back and Spine Injuries, Brain and Head Injuries, Miscellaneous

We arrived at our condo yesterday evening. The bed I slept in was extremely uncomfortable. My back is killing me today. We are waiting to check in and for the rest of our family to join us up here.

I am riding in the 157 mile Courage Classic benefiting the Children’s Hospital because they have been extremely helpful through all the problems I have had. When I was four years old I had to have decompression surgery for Arnold-Chiari Malformation.

Arnold-Chiari Malformation is a genetic disorder where my brain does not fit in my skull, pushing down into the spinal column stopping my spinal fluid from circulating. A week after the diagnosis I went in for the four hour surgery. During it the surgeon broke the back of my skull, pulled it out, shaved off part of my cerebellum, took the back half of my top vertebrae and placed a natural tissue patch over it to protect my spinal cord. I also had a bubble of spinal fluid in my syrinx. At nearly the same time I had a syrinx shunt put in. I did not have any problems until eleven years later when I was diagnosed with Chronic Pain. We were not sure if another decompression surgery would work but it was a slight problem and if we didn’t do it now we would have to have another one later down the road. We decided to do it. It was unsuccessful as far as the pain but I will not have to have it later. As far as the Chronic Pain is concerned I am controlling it pretty well with medication and other means. We have had absolutely no bad experiences working with Children’s. I want to give back part of what I have taken. I will never be able to completely give back because there is no payment for my life.

I am also hoping to grow mentally and emotionally. This is going to be a huge challenge for me because I have not ridden very much and we are five thousand feet higher than where I have trained. I am slightly worried about my pain and having to stop or not complete the ride.

Yesterday the Aurora Sentinel came out and interviewed me about the ride. It was press for the hospital…and it worked. I have raised $100 from the press release.

Stay tuned for the next day of my ride in the Courage Classic.

Ellaura Harris


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