Las Vegas grandmother, nurse and four-time cancer survivor Helene Neville is back on the road to run through 12 states after she was KO’d with altitude sickness and rushed to the ER in Wyoming for medical care on the second day of her attempt at another Guinness World Record.
On her visit to emergency care, Helene discovered torn cartilage and hematoma in a lower-left rib. Miraculously, her friend SheriAnne Little from Arizona, who helped on the drive to Evanston, Wyoming, was running the first day with Helene.
Evanston Mayor Kent Williams, Evanston Police, chamber members, a nurse and Evanston High students gave Helene a ceremonious send-off with sirens and lights. The mayor told the crowd: “We are proud that Helene chose our small but thriving community for the start of her epic run. She is an inspiration to many.”
“The level of support from locals was wonderful. The weather cooperated, and the wind was at our backs on the interstate. As truckers gave us supportive honks, I could only imagine how good that simple gesture felt to Helene. Day 1 presented its share of obstacles, but watching Helene persevere through it was nothing short of amazing,” SheriAnne told me.
Helene admits that she’s been lonely on the road, but on Day 2, staggering on the shoulder of the interstate from altitude adjustment, she found a stuffed bunny rabbit that has become her best friend. She carried the bunny by his ears for 13 miles when a Quality Inn washed it for her.
Helene is carrying the bunny to Laramie and plans to leave it at Matthew Shepard’s grave. The town is the site of one of the worst hate crimes in American history when in October 1998, Matthew, 21, was beaten, tortured and left to die.
Helene made a speech about courage and discipline to students at Horizon High in Evanston before going to the ER, where she was diagnosed with severe altitude sickness and ordered to bedrest. IV’s, medications, oxygen therapy and rest delayed her run by two days.
“Quality Inn in Evanston was so nice and went above and beyond. They went out of their way to help me, even driving me to the pharmacy to pick up my altitude-sickness medications and providing free lodging and bunny laundering. The entire city of Evanston was very supportive,” Helene added.
“At the end of the day, I feel like Superman who ran into too much kryptonite along the road. I am absolutely exhausted from the altitude.” So far Helene has run 83 miles, with the next 103 all below 7,000 feet before it gets high again, going up to 9,000 feet.
“I’m hoping that my body will adjust from all the miles before then,” she told me. Follow Helene’s journey on the Facebook page One on the Run. If you know anybody along the route, Helene is still looking for support with housing, food and road assistance.