Runner Stories

Ali Barton

This was the last race I ran before I got very ill when I was 28 years old. I suddenly developed a very rare heart condition, and had to put aside my fitness goals for several years. A doctor told me that I would likely be on disability and would never have children.

The condition stabilized for a while, but I went into acute heart failure while pregnant with my son Ethan. I was told at 21 weeks that I needed to have an abortion or we would both die; I decided to keep the pregnancy and he was born prematurely at 31 weeks. He is 3-½ now and doing great. I received my heart transplant when Ethan was six months old, and I’ve been slowly getting back into running and getting my confidence and strength back!

I have two babies now, my youngest was born this May via surrogate since I’m not allowed to be pregnant again. I am in a mom’s workout group called Mama Beasts, and we work out together three times a week. It is an amazing community where we exercise with our children there. I am more active than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m surrounded by love and blessings.

I told myself that after my heart transplant I could get through anything. I try to not sweat the small stuff now. I was a psychotherapist before I got sick, and I’m making it my mission in life to counsel people with chronic disease, especially people who are waiting for organ transplants. I want to spread the word about organ donation as much as I possibly can!