“I was diagnosed with Aplastic anemia in January 1997 when my older brother pushed me down the stairs. What my parents thought was a rash turned out to be a petechiae, a symptom of super low platelet counts which looks similar to a bruise. Aplastic anemia is basically when bone marrow loses the ability to create new blood cells, which is really not great because that’s pretty much all your bone marrow is there for. You can be treated with bone marrow transfusions and blood donations, but there isn’t much you can do if the marrow doesn’t start working again and your blood becomes useless if you don’t get regular transfusions. I missed the first half of first grade, but I was extremely lucky in that I responded to treatment very well and was quickly back in school raising hell. I basically didn’t really think about it at all for a decade because I was a child, and then as a adolescent, I began to process how close I’d come to not being here. It had a huge impact on my family. I started to recognize the struggles my family went through, how these struggles affected our relationships and how my own behaviors were a reflection of that deeply intense period, even if I didn’t have significant awareness of the severity at the time.
The result has been a heightened sense of luck and gratitude — gratitude to be here each day, when I know that many with this disease aren’t. Recently, I’ve tried to use my running to help bring a message of hope to the community. I’m hoping that my story can help those diagnosed and their loved ones know that there can be a happy ending, even in the darkest of times.” – HOKA Athlete Tyler Andrews
Tyler’s favorite shoe is the Clifton 3.
“The biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in my life is when my mom, Tonjia, was diagnosed with breast cancer — three different times to be exact. Having to live day-to-day knowing that there’s a chance you could lose the dearest thing to your heart is terrifying in every way. However, she is a survivor! Being a three-time breast cancer survivor in itself is inspiring beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed before. She’s one tough cookie to say the least. My mom has always encouraged me to be my very best in everything I do in life. When faced with tribulations, she taught me to have faith, even if it’s just a mustard seed’s worth. Whenever I reach a tough period of training or racing isn’t going quite as well as I’d like, I always keep in mind these special messages she’s shared with me. If she can conquer such a nasty disease — multiple times — I can make it through whatever running or anything else life throws at me.” – HOKA Athlete Kenyetta Iyevbele
Kenyetta’s favorite shoe is the Clifton 3.
“Mike and I met on Marathon Monday, April 15, 2013, when I had been severely injured by the second bomb. Mike was one of my first responders. The next day he came to the hospital to make sure I had survived, then he kept coming back. However, I rarely had a chance to spend time one-on-one with him as I always had other guests. When I finally got home, I saw an opportunity to ask him to teach me how to use my fire escape. That day, he mentioned he could come with me to my doctor’s appointments or prosthetist appointments. He was there to support me from the start. He even got a little ribbing from some of the guys in the fire house for getting ‘caught’ on TV carrying my purse for me. It was around June that we had gone to lunch, and we talked about how we were feeling for each other. On the way home, he held my hand in the car, and I found it so sweet and protective. Shortly thereafter, he asked me out on a date, and we went to dinner in the South End of Boston. I knew early on in our dating that he was the one. The proposal was amazing and special. It happened on the Sunday of Christmas Stroll weekend in Nantucket on the observation deck of the Whaling Museum, which looks out at Nantucket Harbor. When I’m having a bad day, feeling emotional and depressed, he has a way of saying or doing something that puts an instant smile on my face. He can also be blatantly honest and snap me out of the pity parties I throw myself every once in an while, putting things into perspective. He is just my main support in my life.”- HOKA Fan and Boston Marathon Survivor Roseann Sdoia
Roseann’s favorite shoe is the Clifton 3.
“Being Madonna for ‘just one day out of life’ was freeing. I got to be the rebel and not worry about what anybody thought of me. She was rebellious, went to the beat of her own drum and didn’t care what people thought about her choices. The shoot and profile on me were very tongue-in-cheek yet also acknowledged the growing popularity of the sport and the fact you could now actually make it as a professional triathlete. I was still trying to figure out my place in the sport and how my past was defining my future. No matter what my current results were I would receive press for being the girl that crawled to the line. Some of this attention came at the expense my fellow triathletes, both male and female, and they didn’t always hide their contempt. Being Madonna for a day, I was free to not take myself too seriously and let go of the judgement of others. A little bit of Material Girl can be a good thing.”- HOKA Athlete Julie Moss
Julie’s favorite shoe is the Speed Instinct.
“I love running at Gaviota because of its history as being the longest remaining rural coastlines in Southern California. This area is protected, which just makes you feel that much better when you’re running because you know it’s a place you can continue to visit over your life. I especially enjoy a quick run up to the wind caves because when you sit or stand around them, you get to hear creative natural percussions.” – HOKA Athlete Dani Moreno
Dani’s favorite shoe is the Arahi.