Get Fit, Get Healthy: Team Lucky Seven

70.3.

That’s how many miles a triathlete will swim, bike and run in a Half Ironman.

Imagine finishing one and, just months later, not being able to walk without help.

A terrifying moment in one man’s life turned into a movement to move, help and inspire.

"They always say as you’re training you’re running you should always have that thought to keep you motivated. It’s putting one foot in front of the other," says Rob Swartz.

As an athlete, Rob used to find his motivation in himself.

"It was, I want to get healthy, I want to lose weight, I want to do better, I want to push myself, what can I accomplish," explains Rob.

He accomplished a lot, finishing Half Ironmans across the country.

But as life was at its best, there was a challenge ahead that would test Rob and his wife Danielle immeasurably.

"Woke up one morning in February of ’12 a little bit light headed and said, ‘OK, that’s not right’, it was a little more than you stood up too quickly. Within a few days I started to notice a tremor in my hand, a little shaking," says Rob.

Danielle adds, “Every day it seemed to get progressively worse. So without knowing what was going on at that point, we were both fearing the worst.”

Rob eventually ended up at the Mayo Clinic.

"It was one of the neurologists showed me pictures of my brain and MRI abnormalities and admitted this has got to be something extremely rare, I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Rob.

But another doctor had a hunch, and they narrowed it down to one of three diseases.

“He started talking about the fact that it’s an autoimmune disease and it doesn’t have an official name yet,” says Rob.

His body was attacking his brain and spinal cord.

Doctors said just a few other people had ever been diagnosed.

"My wife finally interrupted him and said, ‘Excuse me doctor, how many people are we talking about?’ and he looked at us and simply said ‘Six’," says Rob.

"In an effort to lighten the mood I said, ‘Well, I guess you’re lucky number seven.’ And that’s how Team Lucky Seven was inspired as a way to make us laugh at a time that was very difficult," explains Danielle.

Team Lucky Seven today is a reality, born out of sleepless nights, a side effect of Rob’s treatment.

Treatment that’s slowly but surely helping Rob regain some of what he lost.

"I was to the edge of not knowing what was going to happen my body, moving on its own, but it’s now how can what I’ve been through inspire someone else to take that first step toward getting healthy and getting active again?" says Rob.

Danielle explains, “The team allows athletes to no matter what, even they would like to do it, could be walking a mile, it could be doing an Ironman training or anything in between to allow them to create a page that allows them to raise money for any type of neurological disease that has touched their life."

And along with Team Lucky Seven, the Boyne City Triathlon, in its fourth year, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

"The course is wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s a great beginner-friendly course," says Danielle.

Today Rob’s back on the bike and running half marathons.

"There’s no feeling in the world that can compare to watching someone overcome something like that, and it gives you such a new appreciation for cherishing the little things," says Danielle.

Rob’s workouts aren’t just about him and his health.

It’s about making a better life for others through getting active, raising money and increasing research for all neurological diseases.

"The journey of 1,000 miles always begins with a single step," says Rob.

Click here for more information about the triathlon.

If you want to help raise money with Team Lucky Seven, click here

Categories: Get Fit, Get Healthy