By Kathy L. Collins
Carla Kellum of Dover is an inspiration to anyone who thought that serious exercise or training for a race was too hard. Kellum is living proof that anyone can do this.
In 2006, Kellum had to have her right leg amputated due to cancer. She now has a permanent prosthetic leg. Kellum will run in the 2013 Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K on Saturday, February 23, which happens to be five years to the day when she lost her leg.
Kellum is a member of the LIVESTRONG program at the Brandon Family YMCA. LIVESTRONG is a free 12 week program for all cancer survivors. Kellum started running in September and started training in October. “I usually run 3.2 miles two to three times a week. Then, I try to work out with a personal trainer one time a week through the Y’s LIVESTRONG program. I also take a spinning class. I also work out on machines for strength training on my free times,” explained Kellum.
“When I first started running, I could only run for 30 seconds at a time. The Y staff has been really great in encouraging me to realize my full potential. Now with the training, I am able to run for over three miles non-stop. It has really helped me to develop and strengthen my character as well, by building up my confidence, determination and endurance,” said Kellum.
Kellum trains with Jessica Rickenbach and Holly Reilly, two dedicated members of the Brandon Family YMCA staff. Rickenbach said, “I started this journey with Carla thinking I was going to be able to help her run a 5K. It has become so much more than that. She has been the one to help me. She has inspired me to live without limits, to not make excuses and to push through any obstacle in my life and do it with a smile on my face. Carla is an amazing young lady, and I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to train with her.”
Kellum added, “I have experienced nothing but support from everyone at the Y. I am so excited to run in my first 5K, and with everyone standing behind me and helping me, I will do great.”
For more information on the Brandon Family YMCA and the LIVESTRONG program, please visit www.tampaymca.org.