Follow along with the Lucky 13!
Meet the 2018-2019 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 Sunday, January 20, 2019.
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.
Allison Abbott, 39, Encinitas
When Allison was 26 years old she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had no family history of cancer and the diagnosis came as quite a shock. Although Allison’s life was thrown off course by breast cancer, she chose not to let it define her life. She chose to use her diagnosis to empower her choices and is now quite dedicated to health and wellness. After undergoing chemotherapy and bilateral mastectomies Allison was told it would be unlikely she could have children of her own, however Allison was blessed with two healthy pregnancies and now has 4 and 6 year old daughters. Motherhood has taken its toll on her energy and self-care time, so this year as Allison celebrates her 13th year cancer free she is excited to regain her personal strength and dedication to wellness by challenging herself as a participant in the Lucky 13!
Christine Anderson, 32, Vista
Christine always dreamed of being a runner, but for years bipolar disorder, ulcerative colitis, and a torn ACL sabotaged those dreams. In November 2016, Christine had ACL reconstruction surgery. During the recovery process, she discovered that exercise is as important for managing her mood as medication. Christine is like a sponge when it comes to coaching. She wants to learn and absorb as much information as possible. Christine hopes to run the whole 13.1 miles, become more consistent with her running workouts, and build friendships with people she can train with well into the future!
Cathy Schoen, 58, Vista
In 2007, Cathy had an L4-L5 Laminectomy/Fusion, but she didn’t let that slow her down. After 6-12 months of intense rehab, she began to set realistic health/fitness goals for herself. However, Cathy’s fitness journey came to a halt in June 2017 when a series of events including a full knee replacement, emergency gall bladder surgery and 100% 6-month loss of vocal cord function turned her life upside-down. As a result, Cathy has been fighting obesity and a heart-related condition. As a resilient mother of 2 and Chief Operations Officer of a highly successful business, managing five thriving schools, she knew she wouldn’t let this keep her down. Due to her hard work, persistence and dedication over the last 13 months, she has fully regained use of her vocal cords and is now able to run 2.5 miles in the pool pain free! Since January 2018, Cathy has lost over 50 pounds, putting her half way to her goal weight. Cathy’s determination, perseverance and motivation will push her past her comfort zone, allowing her to successfully complete the upcoming half marathon!
Sue Brennen, 62, Carlsbad
On October 31st, 2011, Sue’s world changed forever. Her husband of 37 years passed to other side from colon cancer. Then in June 2014, after a long day of working on the homestead, she found herself falling head first down a flight of stairs. This resulted in a head injury that would require many months of recovery, followed by various ongoing health complications. Struggling with ongoing grief and physical pain, Sue knew she would need to find her new path. She decided to look for a health experience, to find the warrior in herself again. After completing her application, Sue was excited to hear that she was selected to be a part of the Tri-City Wellness Lucky 13 Team. Sue feels honored and would like to encourage others to get active after a health set back.
Sue’s motto is “Sweat , Smile , and Repeat “.
Cecilia Sawyer, 62, Carlsbad
Cecilia is a retired teacher after serving the Vista School District for 27 years. Cecilia has had no shortage of challenges. She was born with a heart defect and underwent heart surgery when she was 5-years old to repair pulmonary valve. She was then named 1959 “Little Miss Heart” of Nassau County, N.Y. In 1989, Cecilia was struck by a drunk driver, causing severe physical injuries. In 2009, she was diagnosed with trauma-induced arthritis from the accident, requiring a total hip replacement. Then, in 2013, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy along with 6 months of chemotherapy. However, in 2018 she was declared “Cancer Free”! In 2016 Cecilia lost her sister and best friend, Yvonne, to Ovarian Cancer. Yvonne was a former Lucky 13 member, class of 2013-2014.
“My sister, Yvonne, is my greatest motivation to live each day of my life doing the things I love. She loved being part of the Lucky 13 family. She went on to complete the Triple Crown before she became too ill to run. I hope to honor her legacy & make her proud by participating in Lucky 13 this year.”
Amara Stewart, 45, Oceanside
At the young age of 5, a car hit Amara. She was revived once at the scene and once during emergency surgery. She was in a coma for 17 days. After months in the hospital Amara was finally able to go home. Due to her brain injury, Amara has had to relearn how to do everything and has had ongoing lifelong health issues as a result. Despite Amara’s ongoing health challenges, she finds joy in everything and everyone! Amara’s vivacious personality is contagious. She is known for her orange glasses and ability to make others smile. Amara has never met anyone she didn’t like and would give them the shirt off her back. For most of Amara’s life she has struggled with her weight. In 2018, Amara’s sheer determination has gotten her on the right path. Eating healthy foods in addition to walking over 3 miles a day and countless workouts has afforded Amara the ability to lose 45 pounds to date. There is nothing Amara can’t do when she puts her mind to it. She is thrilled to be one of the Lucky 13.
Nancy Wood, 55, Vista
In July of 2010, Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer. By September of 2011, she had received two more diagnoses of cancer. After 2 separate rounds of radiation and three and a half years of chemo treatments, she is now a Triple Cancer Survivor!
Her first experience at Tri-City was with Susan Webster, Medical Integration Manager. “Susan got me off the couch, after I gained over 40lbs during my long period of chemo treatments.” Nancy practices the art of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and tries to not take things for granted. She feels she has been given a 2nd chance and plans to work hard at taking care of herself, mentally and physically.
Fun Fact: Nancy loves to sing out loud, no matter where she is or who’s listening!
Paul Geisterfer, 26, Carlsbad
Paul has had a rough road through life. Diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and further diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 8, Paul was bullied through his schooling by his fellow peers and was underestimated by many who thought he would amount to nothing. These constant pressures resulted in him becoming depressed and having a low self esteem. After graduating from the University of California Riverside with a double major in Economics and Political Science, Paul is looking to get over the emotional pain of his past in order to inspire others and create a better future for everyone. Paul may be young but he has an old soul and looks forward to motivating his fellow Lucky 13ers and others who have faced similar trials.
Gayle Fairbanks-Carino, 71, Oceanside
Gayle feels she is one of the luckiest people on earth. She has had many challenges. With every new challenge she has met many wonderful health care professionals and friends who have shared their numerous skills and never ending support. It began when she was a young wife and mother and her life changed in an instant when a traffic accident took her husband. Shock and disbelief evolved in to determination to build a better life for her son and herself. Education was the answer; completing college and realizing a life long dream of becoming a teacher. Along the way, as her son went off to college, she met a wonderful partner and friend and married again. Her health challenges started with a breast cancer diagnosis at 41 years old and years later emergency heart surgery to repair a rare heart ailment. Her most recent challenge was the return of breast cancer after 28 years, this time, Stage 3. Surgery, chemo and radiation over these last two years has been rough but she is determined to not only survive and regain her health but to flourish. By becoming a member of the Lucky 13 she continues to believe she is one of the luckiest people on earth.
Veronica Robinson, 54, Oceanside
Veronica’s depression was triggered by her divorce, which lead to weight gain and becoming an introvert. She feels her depression became suppressed because she channeled her energy into her duties as a single mother. She unintentionally neglected her own health while making sure her daughters and all the ‘moving parts’ surrounding them were in order, ensuring their good health, social skills, and happiness. Veronica was successful in her goal to raise three little girls into productive young women and is now determined to focus on her own health.
Veronica wishes to be well, happy and healthy. She wants to blossom and go forward in life again. Veronica sees the Lucky 13 program as her game changer. She is incredibly grateful for this helpful and positive opportunity!
Mandy Moore, 52, Carlsbad
Mandy has spent her life caring for others. As a Registered Nurse for over 21 years, she has devoted her time and energy to the health and well being of her patients. She has taken on the role of healthcare advocate for her co-workers, family, and friends. She has been the caregiver to her family during multiple medical crises and provided stability during difficult losses. In the midst of it all, she has been managing her own autoimmune disorders of Hashimoto’s, Guillain Barre, and Crohn’s for most of her life without a thought for the impact on her physical and mental well being. With her symptoms worsening recently, she decided that now was the time to make herself a priority. She is ready to accept the life changes that need to be made so that she can regain her health and reduce her symptoms. She is encouraged and supported on this journey by friends and family who wish to return the love and care she so freely gives to all who encounter her.
Rosemaryann Nauta (Rose), 36, Oceanside
Rose is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard where she learned discipline in managing her health and wellness lifestyle. She balanced her work, her marriage, and her caring for her son with severe autism, and still practiced self-care. However, after completing 8 successful years, Rose was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and had an injury of her Achilles tendon. After the USCG, she fell apart because she really wanted to make saving people an important part of her life. She was depressed and anxious and turned to food for solace, and now struggles with obesity. Rose is ready for a new challenge in life! She looks forward to training with her Lucky 13 teammates and is especially excited to complete the half-marathon. In the past, running has always been therapeutic for Rose and she is excited to get back to that calming state of mind that she has found in running. Her mother, husband and three children are supporting her in this new challenging journey.
David Zumaya, 55, Escondido
David has always enjoyed being active even after rehabbing from a serve auto accident in 1995. He would regularly jog, cycle and swim with his daughters. Sometimes even pushing a double stroller in 5k runs. However, recent knee surgery stopped most of David’s activities. Time and unhealthy eating got the best of him as he gained over 50 pounds. This past year David was forced to go on disability due to severe chest pain and stress. Together with the loss of his mother from a long battle of Alzheimer’s and a change in family and work, David began to suffer from depression. David is now ready and determined to get his healthy lifestyle back! Being healthy, staying positive, and keeping a smile on his face is what he strives for everyday. Living for his daughters is what keeps David focused on success! David is a passionate North County business professional and business owner who loves serving his community. He works with many local Chambers of Commerce and loves volunteering at community events. David founded My San Diego North County, a new community and business directory website and social media channels. He is exited to be part of the Lucky 13 Community Outreach Program in the community he loves to serve.