Cancer? Dystonia? I’ll Do What Makes Me Happy

Todd Hart’s name should really be Badass McGee.

A triathlete, Hart completed the 2009 Boilermaker 15k in 58:22. (The race’s site bills it as “the most competitive 15k road race in the world” and the men’s record is 42:40, set in 1996 by Ethiopian Joseph Kimani.) But only years after his success, Hart was diagnosed with stage three melanoma.

Mr. Badass underwent chemotherapy, three surgeries, and rehab. It was after that ordeal, Hart told the Utica Observer-Dispatch, that he noticed his right foot would contract into a ball. Eventually, he was diagnosed with dystonia and presented with the possibility of never running again. Hart wouldn’t accept that, though.

His foot made him trip and fall but he wouldn’t give up. Instead he went on a search for a brace that could help him.

Drawing inspiration from Beth Deloria, a marathoner who is all-too-familiar with foot drop, Hart ended up finding a carbon fiber orthotic to help control his foot and allow him to keep competing. This year, he and Deloria ran the Boilermaker together, coming in at 1:24:22.

As Badass McGee told UOD, his goal was

“to aid the woman who helped me by encouraging others with similar conditions so that they can remain active and continue doing what makes them happy.”



James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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