MINNEAPOLIS, MN, October 13, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Shad Ireland, the only athlete to complete an Ironman Triathlon while receiving dialysis, is preparing to fulfill his dream of qualifying for the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Ireland looks to inspire others and raise awareness about kidney disease while he races toward history with no kidneys. ---
Health issues caused Ireland to take some time off recently, but nothing can keep Ireland from going for the impossible. His inspirational return to competitive racing begins when he competes in the 2013 New York City Marathon on November 3. His plans include a full race season in 2014 including a return to Ironman at the Coeur d'Alene Ironman on June 29, 2014, so that Ireland can qualify for the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Ireland learned at age 10 that his kidneys were diseased. He had one kidney transplant that didn't take and his second transplant lasted only three years before failing. At one point in his life, doctors told him he would not live past the age of sixteen; however, Ireland went on to graduate from college and continues to defy medical data.
While recovering from a transplant and only weighing 75 lbs., he watched the Ironman Triathlon on television. The grueling race of endurance consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. Ireland had wanted to be an athlete ever since he was a child, even though he was told that was not possible. He was inspired by what he saw in the Ironman race and decided to put his dreams in motion through training.
The road to fulfilling his dream was neither straight nor easy, but in 2004, Ireland finished the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon in New York. In doing so, Ireland became the first, and still remains the only, dialysis patient in the world to finish an Ironman Triathlon. Ireland beat astronomical odds against him through sheer guts and perseverance.
Dr. Thomas Pintar MD, who practices at the Idaho Nephrology Associates, is a Nephrologist who is trained to manage the physiological and biochemical challenges of patients living with chronic kidney disease and marvels at what Ireland has been able to accomplish through sure will of the body and mind.
"Shad Ireland did the impossible in 2004," said Dr. Pintar. "For individuals requiring hemodialysis to survive, sometimes living day-to-day is often challenging enough. However, for a kidney patient to embark on a journey to physically train up to 20 hours a week for months, along with necessity of 4-5 hours of hemodialysis 3-4 times a week simply defies the imagination. Shad for all practical purposes should NOT be able to do what he has already done. To me, Shad Ireland remains not only an inspiration to the renal community, but to the community of all athletes. His goal of returning to this sport needs to be supported and studied, as it is truly an impossible task."
Ireland's goal is to inspire others to finish whatever their dream, whether it's to complete high school, learn to swim or in his case to manage a disease and achieve what his doctors told him and his mother was impossible due to his physical disability.
Partnering with Impact Enterprises, Ireland has created the "Inspire2Finish" website platform, which is an innovative technology for anyone seeking to achieve their dreams no matter the obstacles. The website will house inspiring videos that begin with Ireland's journey, but will include other famous athletes and celebrities sharing their own personal "finish lines."
Ireland is asking others, "What are you inspired to finish?" Users will be able to upload their personal stories to create digital inspiration at http://www.Inspired2Finish.com.
"Inspired 2 Finish harnesses technology and inspiration with an intentional invitation for people to identify and achieve their personal finish lines," said Ryan Justis, CEO of Impact Enterprises. "Starting with Shad's amazing story, we are searching for finish lines everywhere. While each accomplishment is personal, the journey is shared by all."
Ireland established the Shad Ireland Foundation in 2004 to focus children and adults on finding their own finish line. The mission statement of the foundation is to assist those with kidney disease and their families in the areas education, prevention, awareness and access. To learn more about the foundation, please visit http://www.shadirelandfoundation.org.
For more information about Shad Ireland the athlete, please visit http://www.ironshad.com.
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