Indebted to a stranger

October 14 2015

“Go Bryce!” my family shouted as I raced past. Their cheering at mile 20 provided the injection of energy I needed. This was my first marathon – only 6 miles to go. I ran on, bolstered by the confidence that came from knowing I had trained well. I was determined to finish strong despite my exhausted legs and the scorching June temperature. A few miles later I got light-headed, chills swept over my body, my vision blurred...that’s all I remember….

When my eyes opened, the bright hospital lights blinded me. The fuzzy scene of my family and friends around me slowly came into clarity. “Where am I?” I faintly whispered. “You were running and collapsed,” my dad said, gently caressing my hand. Mom didn’t say a word; her countenance dark with worry. “I love to run.” I muttered in response, completely unaware. Then it hit me – my marathon! What happened? Why was I here? I was devastated. Mom handed me my GPS watch - 25.9 miles. I had collapsed a quarter mile from the finish line.

A friend sent this message - “Hey, I heard you went loopy at your marathon. My friend knows the woman who helped you.” I had no idea anyone had helped me! I didn’t even know what had happened and I was anxious to find out. I got the phone number for a woman named Paula and gave her a call. I wept in awe as she explained the part of the story I couldn’t remember.

She had been running the last few miles to support a friend when she saw me hobbling slowly along. She encouraged her friend on and stopped to help me. When she approached I clumsily sat down. I told her my name was Ron (not my name), and I reached for a crack in the street. “Is this the finish line?” I asked. It was obvious I was delirious and needed medical attention. The finish line was in sight so Paula and another man lifted me up, one on each side, and escorted me slowly toward the finish. With each step I got weaker and weaker until I slumped to the ground. My rescuers carried me to the side and yelled for someone to call 911. After propping me up against a tree, my eyes rolled to the back of my head and that was the end of my race.


I owe my life to my Paula. Through her selflessness I escaped death that day. Words are inadequate to express how grateful I am and how indebted I feel to her. I was completely and utterly incapable of helping myself that day. That was a very humbling feeling - one I had never really felt before, and one I will never forget.

When has someone done something for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?
When has a friend, loved one, or stranger helped you when you needed it?
Who are you grateful for? Inspired by? Feel indebted to?
I’d love to hear your stories. Please share!

Life is an incredible journey.
People are truly good.
Kindness wins.

Let’s pass it on.

Bryce Cameron
[email protected]
Palo Alto, California

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