Wilton stroke survivor will run in NYC Marathon


“I would consider Nov. 1, 2014, the worst day of my life,” said Merideth Gilmor, a Wilton resident of nearly 10 years.
While attending a wedding in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, Gilmor had a stroke.
Not only was Gilmor “an active mother” and founder of Modern Global Communications — a boutique firm that represents professional athletes — but she also had no family history of stroke.
“I was healthy,” she said, “and I had run eight miles that morning.”
“I never had anything slow me down before, but as I was crawling into bed after the reception,” she said, “I recall feeling a queer sensation — like I was about to sneeze — and then everything went black.”
Her husband, Mark, later told her that she had been rushed to a local hospital.
“I vomited and suffered a seizure. I had to be intubated to breathe and put into a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling in [my] brain,” said Gilmor.
“My dad came up with my son Colin, who was 9, to spend what they thought might be my last days.”
Since the local hospital in the Berkshires didn’t have a neurosurgeon, Gilmor said, she had to be medically evacuated to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where her husband was given four scenarios based on her CAT scans.
“I would probably be a vegetable, I would probably never walk or talk again, I would never be able to use the left side of my body or see through my left eye, and then the last scenario the doctor [told] my husband was, ‘There could be a miracle,’” said Gilmor. “I was blessed with the latter.”
Gilmor said she regained consciousness in the neurology emergency room and began a year of slow recovery.

Turnaround


To turn “the worst” time in her life into “the best” one, Gilmor said, she has decided to participate in the TCS New York City Marathon — “the world's biggest and most popular marathon, with 50,530 finishers in 2014,” according to the NYC Marathon website — on Sunday, Nov. 1.
The 45-year-old marathon, sponsored by the New York Road Runners, entails a 26-mile course through the five New York boroughs.
“My greatest blessing is my husband, Mark — who not only took over as full-time caregiver during my recovery but balanced his job as vice president and senior architect at Cloud Technology Partners — and now he’s my marathon training partner,” said Gilmor, who has also been preparing for her first-ever marathon by following the TCS’s preparation plan.
By running the marathon, Gilmor said, she hopes to not only “educate people and raise awareness” of strokes but also “speak to stroke survivors.”
“A number of stroke champions lose hope with their recovery, and I want to tell them to have patience, stay positive, stick with your physical therapy,” she said. “You can come back strong.”

Support


From her experience, Gilmor said, she learned that “friends become family.”
“The entire Wilton community really cocooned my family and took care of us. My son’s remarkable third grade Wilton youth football team took care of us — from organizing planned meals to helping Colin get to games and practices,” said Gilmor.
“Colin’s school, Cider Mill, was also amazing. The talented teachers and staff didn’t skip a beat with my family, taking the extra care to help Colin settle into his school routine and keep a watchful eye on him as we tried to get back on our feet.”
Gilmor said her family’s church, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, was also “generous in prayer and support.”
“Our precious friends were there every step of the way. The outpouring from the Wilton community really lifted our family up during such a difficult time,” she said. “For those people, we are truly blessed.”
To learn more about the TCS New York City Marathon, visitwww.tcsnycmarathon.org.