Colorado Resident Conquers Her First-Ever RunDisney Race After Life-Saving Lung Transplant Surgery

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Colorado Resident Conquers Her First-Ever Race at Walt Disney Wo
(Omark Reyes, photographer)

Colorado Resident Conquers Her First-Ever RunDisney Race After Life-Saving Lung Transplant Surgery

Four years post a life-saving double lung transplant, 67-year-old Kim Schaefer, hailing from Windsor, Colorado, achieved a remarkable feat by conquering the Disney Princess 10K presented by CORKCICLE, surrounded by her family, Disney cast members, and the spirited encouragement of Minnie Mouse at the finish line at Walt Disney World Resort. Prior to her transplant in 2020, Schaefer grappled with interstitial lung disease, relying on two oxygen machines to navigate her home. The transplant not only saved her life but also granted her the ability to participate in the running event for the first time, turning her journey into a Disney fairy tale of resilience.

Related – New Disney Princess Half Marathon Merchandise Spotted At The runDisney Expo!

Colorado Resident Conquers Her First-Ever Race at Walt Disney Wo
(Omark Reyes, photographer)

Schaefer’s health challenges began in 2010 when she first experienced breathing difficulties during a family vacation. After years of medical tests and various treatments, she was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, a condition causing progressive scarring of lung tissue, limiting oxygen intake. In 2019, additional diagnoses of sarcoidosis and pulmonary hypertension further compounded her health struggles.

Related – Easter Egg Displays And Grand Cottage Are Coming Back To Walt Disney World!


Colorado Resident Conquers Her First-Ever Race at Walt Disney Wo
(Omark Reyes, photographer)

In 2020, Schaefer became a candidate for a double lung transplant, facing daunting 50 percent survival odds due to age and other factors. Overcoming these odds, she found solace and motivation in running, particularly envisioning her participation in a runDisney race. This weekend, Schaefer transformed that vision into reality by completing the 10K during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Celebrating the emotional achievement with her daughter and granddaughter, who also ran the race with her, Schaefer plans to extend the celebration by exploring the theme parks at Walt Disney World.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend continues with the half marathon on Sunday and yoga on Monday. This event is the third of four on-site race weekends at Walt Disney World during the 2023-24 runDisney season, with the upcoming runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend scheduled for April 18-21. These inclusive races cater to runners of all fitness levels, offering the unique experience of running through Disney theme parks, enjoying world-class entertainment, and earning distinctive Disney medals.


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Chip is the owner, editor, and writer of Chip and Company. When he is not writing about Disney News or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney Vacation.
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