Marathon mother: ‘I started living when I became paralyzed’

A Howard mother and her daughters are preparing to take part in this weekend’s Cellcom Green Bay 5K.

According to our sister station WBAY, this, though, is no ordinary race. This one comes with a message of bravery, courage and hope reaching far beyond the race course.

“I would always say, I’m signing up, and I would do it every time, and then I never made it. So this’ll be my first time actually crossing the finish line. Actually it’ll be my first time at the starting line!” says Jen Naze, with a big grin on her face.

She can only now laugh at how ironic it is that Saturday will mark her first real 5K.

On the way home from her daughter’s birthday party nearly two years ago, cars on the highway in front of Jen suddenly stopped. To avoid rear-ending another car, she veered to the shoulder at just 20 miles per hour.

Jen didn’t realize there was a steep drop off.

“So my van went down the hill and went back up the hill airborne. When it did that, I did the mom thing and I leaned over and held Bella back, and by doing that my spine went from this to this,” she says, bending her hand at an angle, “and then the impact broke my spine at the point of T11, so I was paralyzed instantly.”

No one else in the car was even scratched.

“Before this, I was the mom that thought that I had to parent by having them involved in absolutely everything and doing everything and always being on the go and being supermom. And then all of a sudden, in a split second, that changed,” she says.

But Jen believes it made life better.

“It’s given me opportunities that I would have never had before.”

That includes taking part in this weekend’s 3.1-mile event with my Team Triumph.

For weeks, her daughters, Isabella and Sophia, and close friends have trained with Jen in her racing chair, pushing and encouraging through every step.

She’s watched an amazing transformation.

A Howard mother and her daughters are preparing to take part in this weekend’s Cellcom Green Bay 5K.

This, though, is no ordinary race. This one comes with a message of bravery, courage and hope reaching far beyond the race course.

“I would always say, I’m signing up, and I would do it every time, and then I never made it. So this’ll be my first time actually crossing the finish line. Actually it’ll be my first time at the starting line!” says Jen Naze, with a big grin on her face.

She can only now laugh at how ironic it is that Saturday will mark her first real 5K.

On the way home from her daughter’s birthday party nearly two years ago, cars on the highway in front of Jen suddenly stopped. To avoid rear-ending another car, she veered to the shoulder at just 20 miles per hour.

Jen didn’t realize there was a steep drop off.

“So my van went down the hill and went back up the hill airborne. When it did that, I did the mom thing and I leaned over and held Bella back, and by doing that my spine went from this to this,” she says, bending her hand at an angle, “and then the impact broke my spine at the point of T11, so I was paralyzed instantly.”

No one else in the car was even scratched.

“Before this, I was the mom that thought that I had to parent by having them involved in absolutely everything and doing everything and always being on the go and being supermom. And then all of a sudden, in a split second, that changed,” she says.

But Jen believes it made life better.

“It’s given me opportunities that I would have never had before.”

That includes taking part in this weekend’s 3.1-mile event with my Team Triumph.

For weeks, her daughters, Isabella and Sophia, and close friends have trained with Jen in her racing chair, pushing and encouraging through every step.

She’s watched an amazing transformation.

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