Inspiration Wellness

Color Runner Hero: Cathy Hulsebus – Grand Rapids, MI

  • August 2, 2017

Getting into shape is always a great decision to make. But sometimes, it not only changes your life, but the lives of those around you as well! As was Cathy’s case when her decision to get in shape made her eligible to save her long-time friend Don’s life! Read Cathy’s uplifting story through the eyes of her niece, Marci!

By Marci Dalm

Cathy with her nephew (Marci’s son), Levi

Cathy has always been like a second mom to me, and I spent many weekends and holidays with her and my uncle while I was growing up. While I have always looked up to her, this year she truly became a hero.

Cathy has struggled with her weight off and on for years. About 10 years ago, she made the decision to lose weight and get healthy. Little did she know, that decision would change not only her life, but the life of a friend as well. Cathy worked hard through a weight loss program and lost about 70 pounds. She became more active and maintained a healthy lifestyle. She has maintained that change despite many ups and downs in her life, including a 5 year health struggle with her father following open heart surgery, and the loss of both of her parents within 8 months of each other. Her parents (my grandparents) were wonderful parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and friends. Their loss was devastating to our family, and Cathy could have easily used it as a reason to revert to her unhealthy lifestyle. However, she persevered, refusing to give up on herself and her dreams.

Marci (left), her mom (middle), and Cathy (right) about to attend The Color Run for the first time, 2013

Cathy has always been active in her church, with her husband working there for over 10 years. Often times Cathy can be found volunteering at church cleaning, cooking, or helping run the nursery. Cathy was raised in this church, so she has known many of the members since she was young. Last year, it came to her attention that a longtime member of their church, Don, was in need of a kidney transplant. Without hesitation, Cathy decided to get tested. She began the process in October of 2016, and continued blood work, tests, and procedures for the next 5 months. She never once complained about the testing, and was always happy to do anything they asked of her. Cathy was deemed a match, and on February 28, 2017, at 63 years old, she underwent the first surgery of her life to donate her kidney to Don.

Cathy in hospital after the operation with Kathy, Don’s wife

Always putting others before herself, when Cathy came out of surgery, one of her first questions was how Don was doing. Both Cathy and Don have recovered well from the surgery, and Don has gotten his life back. Prior to the surgery, Don was on dialysis and could not maintain a “normal” life, spending his days off dialysis exhausted and recovering. He is now able to spend time with his family, and do the things that he has always enjoyed.

If Cathy had not started this weight loss journey 10 years ago, she most likely would have been excluded as a candidate for the transplant. Cathy’s change in lifestyle has not only changed her life, but saved the life of a friend as well. This year marks the 5th year that Cathy, my mom, and I have done The Color Run together. I am so glad that she is fully recovered and able to walk with us again this year and I am so proud to call her my aunt, my “2nd mom”, and my friend!

Cathy (middle) with loved ones after finishing The Color Run

Holy cow! Big shoutout to Marci for sharing this incredible story with us! It’s amazing how one decision can have a tremendous snowball effect that can change someone’s life completely. We’re so happy to hear that both Don and Cathy are doing great and that Marci  is walking at The Color Run with her mom and Cathy (2nd mom)! Don’t forget that working on yourself isn’t just a decision to make you happy, but your loved ones as well. They all care about you and only ask that you enjoy a long and chromatic life!

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