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Rauni's story: Overcame all odds to complete 10K

The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a celebration of the community and persevering spirit of Atlanta. On July 4, no racer embodied that resolute spirit more than metro Atlanta resident Rauni Person. 

Rauni became legally blind in 2011 due to diabetic retinopathy. After an infection, caused by peripheral artery disease, spread from her toe to her leg, Rauni had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation in January 2022.

Undeterred and adamant about continuing her active lifestyle, Rauni received her prosthetic and set sights on the Peachtree Road Race.

But as she began racking up miles and building her stamina for the 10K, one day in May she started to experience extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. A medical examination at Northside Hospital Forsyth revealed five arteries in Rauni’s heart were blocked, one of which was 98% blocked.

She underwent a coronary bypass with Dr. Alan Winston at Northside Hospital Gwinnett in June and was medically cleared by her surgeon one week before the race. 

Despite all odds, setbacks and obstacles, Rauni donned her Peachtree Road Race bib a month later as she crossed the starting line in the world’s largest 10K race.

Though thunderstorms called the race off early, Rauni did not let that tear her down. Instead, she used the race cancellation as motivation to return harder and stronger next year. And although she, like many others competing that day, was not able to finish the race, Rauni was dropped off at the last leg of the race, where she triumphantly crossed the finish line into Piedmont Park to celebrate with the rest of the participants.

“My father always said if you can walk on the grass instead of lying beneath, you’re already having a super day!” said Rauni.

Today, Rauni is a strong advocate for the disability community receiving the ADA access needed to thrive.

Watch Rauni's story told by 11Alive.

 

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