Follow along with the Lucky 13!

2017-2018 lucky 13 group photo

Meet the 2017-2018 Lucky 13, a group of thirteen individuals from throughout San Diego’s North County who were selected to participate in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon on January 14, 2018.

This special group, all of whom have or are currently overcoming health challenges, are training with fitness experts at the Tri-City Wellness Center in Carlsbad to prepare for the 13.1-mile race.

Get to know our amazing Lucky 13 and follow their journey to yet another finish line.

Marta Alvarez, 34, Oceanside

In November of 2014 Marta was in a car wreck that resulted in two herniated disks in her low back. Over the next two years the pain worsened causing setbacks in her career and overall health. As a result, she became less active, gained weight and became depressed. She had back surgery in March 2017 and has been fighting for her life ever since. This self-starting business owner and single mother of three is determined not to let anything stand in her way of success. She wants to set a good example for he kids and show them that they can overcome anything!

Daniel Fencyk, 69, Vista

Daniel thought he was in good health until the doctors told him he had a heart issue that would require surgery. Daniel underwent triple bypass surgery in December of 2016. After his surgery, Daniel did his follow-up care with the Tri-City Wellness Cardiac Rehab Program. This proud disabled Air Force Vet gave up smoking and took up exercising. He may be the oldest of the 13 but his enthusiasm and dedication to his health inspire those decades younger than him!

Carol Harward, 68, Oceanside

Carol was shocked when she was diagnosed with diabetes. She used this as a wakeup call to take control of her health. She knew this transition would be difficult since she also deals with asthma and dysthymia but she is accepting the challenge head on! Carol was inspired by her friend, Luanne, who was in the Lucky 13 last year. Carol is quiet and reserved but her leadership shines brightly by her consistency and hard work.

Marta Hoyt, 61, Escondido

Marta overcame cancer not once but twice! Ovarian Cancer in 2012 and Breast Cancer in 2015 was not enough to stop Marta. Neither was the shoulder replacement she had April 2017. After making great strides in her recovery while working with Susan Webster, head of Tri-City Wellness Center’s Cancer Fitness Program, she wanted to challenge herself again by applying for The Lucky 13. Marta’s glass is always half full and her joy and gratitude for life infects the whole team!

Joe McAndrew, 60, Oceanside

Joe was on track to hike Mt. Whitney when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago. His treatment was successful but the physical and mental toll made him lose sight of his healthy habits. Then he lost his job when his company underwent a workforce reduction. Joe says, “There are always choices when unfortunate things happen, you can sit around and feel sorry for yourself or you can take positive action.” Joe took positive action! He joined the Wellness Center in April 2017 determined to get physically and mentally fit. Joe is a vocal and emotional leader and he is thrilled to be part of the Lucky 13!

Jan Ray, 55, Carlsbad

Jan struggled with obesity her whole life. However, five years ago, Jan grew tired of being a victim and decided to take control of her life. She set her mind to lose weight and had double knee replacement in 2013. Following her surgeries, Jan completed her physical therapy at Tri-City Wellness Center with great success. She has since dropped over 100 pounds! Jan says, “I was committed like never before. I began a new way of thinking and a new way of living.” Jan has a grateful heart and shares it by volunteering at Tri-City as well as With Vitas Hospice/Healthcare. Jan was so excited to be part of this year’s Lucky 13 that she was the first person to apply!

Cecilia “Celine” Showman, 42, Oceanside

By the time the ambulance arrived at Tri-City Medical Hospital, Celine was in a coma due to her cardiac arrest. She was then treated with therapeutic hypothermia, the first ever at Tri-City Medical and it saved her life. She had an S-ICD (subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) implanted so she can exercise and live life knowing she has help should another cardiac even occur. Despite Celine’s many setbacks her motto is “Choose joy, no matter the circumstance.” Celine loves sharing her joy by giving back to the community. She volunteers for the American Heart Association and many other worthy causes.

Lisa Soto, 54, Oceanside

After Lisa’s husband suffered a heart attack at a young age, she realized health is not something she could afford to take for granted. While caring for her husband during his recovery, Lisa slipped into a sedentary lifestyle. Plus, working on a computer all day led to Lisa having osteoporosis and low energy. This kindhearted caretaker says, “One family member’s health struggle can have an effect on the entire family’s health.” Lisa is determined to be as healthy as possible so she and her entire family can enjoy life to the fullest!

Debbie Stranton, 56, Cardiff

debbie strantonDebbie was so inspired by her daughter, Kristina, and her experience as part of last year’s Lucky 13 team that she decided to apply herself. Debbie was a caretaker for her daughter who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma as an infant. Despite losing an eye, Debbie’s daughter went on to be incredibly healthy and successful thanks to the love and care of her mother. Debbie has severed her ACL on two different occasions and suffered a torn meniscus, all in the same knee! Debbie is enjoying her journey with the new team along with the support and encouragement from her daughter.

Wendy Sustachek, 43, Oceanside

Wendy has dealt with a variety of different health challenges. Like so many of us, Wendy spent so much time caring for others that she neglected her own health. Wendy is now ready to make her health and happiness the priority. Wendy says, “I have a new found love for myself and my body.” She is committed to her recovery and excited to complete her first half marathon.

Beth Thorp, 57, Carlsbad

In January 2015 Beth suffered a seizure as a result of a large meningioma tumor found in the left front hemisphere of her head which was putting pressure on her brain. Emergency surgery was performed to remove the tumor but left her unable to walk or lift her right arm or leg. She spent the next month in the hospital. Then she entered a brain rehabilitation program where she went for the next 5 months, 6 hours a day, 5 days a week where she gained her strength and learned to walk again, feed herself, pick up a pen to write. She is now ready to take on a half marathon! Beth and her husband Brad are also founders of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation in honor of their son Mitchell.

Chris Vettel, 60, Vista

Chris had open-heart surgery to replace an aortic valve due to a congenital heart condition in 2010. Before the surgery, Chris was never a runner but she turned to it as a way to stay healthy and have fun after her surgery. Chris wanted to join Lucky 13 in order to become stronger and more confident, as well as to complete the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

Tanya Watanabe, 48, Carlsbad

Tanya is a two-time cancer survivor. After her second bout with cancer Tanya said, “I promised myself I would do all I could to give myself the best odds of remaining cancer free.” Tanya wants to focus on her overall well-being and inspire her loved ones to live a healthy lifestyle. Tanya has been a supporter of the Lucky 13 since 2010 when her best friend, Laura Dudek went through the program. She is thrilled to get to be part of such an inspiring team!