MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) — A paralyzed former sheriff’s deputy is heading to Buffalo, New York, for her first marathon.
Mary Mayo lost the use of her legs a decade ago, when a tree fell on her patrol car, killing her fiance, during a funeral for another St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s deputy.
The years that followed were “more downs than ups,” Mayo told WWL-TV. “Being in a bed for four-and-a-half years, you can’t fathom.”
Mayo had run in road races before the wreck, but it got so bad that her trainer, Sandie Livaudais, said she had to be belted into her wheelchair to stay upright.
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Then in February, she met someone who got her racing again. Local firefighter Ryan Mast invited her to join his team, called Flags To The Finish, in New Orleans’ 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) Crescent City Classic road race in March.
“We made an agreement and she started working,” Mast said.
Mast raced in full fire gear, alongside Mayo in a bright pink racing chair.
“I thought we were going to be lagging behind, you know, in the slow section. We were not in the slow section,” Mayo said.
They planned to fly to New York on Friday for Sunday’s marathon.
“This is big for me!” Mayo said.