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Glenn Cunningham

Take A Mulligan

March 3, 2019
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Maybe you've heard of Glenn Cunningham and maybe not. Either way, his story is amazing to say the least. When Glenn was a little boy, it was his job to get to the Country School each day and get the fire going in the old pot-bellied stove so that everyone would be toasty warm when school started. One morning, the door on the stove didn't close all the way and soon the entire little wooden school was engulfed in flames with Glenn being trapped inside. When the fire got somewhat under control, firefighters were able to locate and get the unconscious little boy out. He was, however, more dead than alive, with major burns over most of his body, especially his lower half.

Upon regaining some form of consciousness, little Glenn overheard the doctor tell his mother to not get her hopes up because the little boy probably would not make it through the night. Glenn heard these words and prayed, "Dear God, please don't let me die." With that prayer, little Glenn made up his mind that he would live.

Glenn hung on and several days later he overheard the doctor say that he would probably live but that his legs were so badly burned that he absolutely would never walk again. Again, Glenn prayed, "Dear God, please help me to walk." Again, with this prayer,this brave boy made up his mind that he would walk again some day. Months later he was released from the hospital back home and every day his mother would massage his badly burned legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet, he determined that his story would not end this way.

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John Sheda

When he wasn't in bed, he sometimes was able to move about in a wheelchair and every once in a while on a nice sunny day, his mother would take him outside to enjoy the rays of the sun. One day, instead of just sitting in the fresh air, he flung himself from the chair, pulled himself across the grass, dragging his lifeless legs behind him. He started to do this as often as he could. Eventually, he was able to work his way to their white picket fence bordering their yard and with great effort, he finally could sometimes raise himself up on the fence. Then, stake by stake, he started dragging himself along the fence, with a determined resolve that one day he would walk again. He did this every day until you could actually see a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. He was determined to strengthen his legs.

As time went on, with his mother's massages, his rock-solid persistence and a will that would not give in, he did develop the ability to stand, then walk leaning heavily on the fence, next walk by himself and finally to the amazement of everyone-- RUN.

Glen started walking to school, then running to school and just running for the sheer joy of running. Eventually he tried out for the high school track team and ran for his team. Then he also ran for his college track team. And one day, the unfathomable, the miraculous happened!!!

On June 10, 1934, in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Glenn Cunningham ran the mile in 4:06.8 minutes, BREAKING THE WORLD'S RECORD. Dr. Glenn Cunningham ran the world's fastest mile. His effort shows that you can overcome your obstacles. Now what's your excuse?

That's The Way I See It. Let me know how you see things at or call me at 319.337.4640. Have a great week.



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