I will be doing a Double Iron (Swim 4.8 miles, bike 224 miles and run 52.4 miles) in Tampa Mar 1-2 and raising money for Special Olympics.

Please feel free to share with anyone who might consider helping. I have setup a Facebook page (Double Ironman for Special Olympics) also, it will give you updates from Brad Kelley's Double Iron race day, pictures, upcoming events, and donation progress.

I have completed numerous Ironman events over the past three years, but I recently signed up for the Florida Double Iron in the Tampa area on March 1st and 2nd, 2013. My goal is to raise thousands for Special Olympics. In addition to raising money for the Special Olympics, I am doing the Double Iron in honor of my incredible mother who unexpectedly passed away exactly one year ago in 2012. She was a speech pathologist and often worked with special needs children. She taught me so much about life and to accept people as they are, including those with disabilities.

Participating in this fundraiser is my way of helping an organization that works with a truly inspiring group of individuals. Your donation, big or small, goes a long way toward making countless dreams come true. Special Olympics website describes it best. “Special Olympics is made up of passionate, committed individuals from every walk of life who recognize the value and unique gifts of people with intellectual disabilities. And who, together, share the common belief in dignity, equality and opportunity for ALL people”.

This is a huge event for me because in 2003, over a three-day period, I weakened to the point that I could no longer walk unassisted. I was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the stable coronary care unit of the hospital. Bedridden, and with an unknown future, I had four days of intensive medical tests and blood work. I was diagnosed as having Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which left me unable to walk for over a month and required a five-day blood transfusion, as well as numerous other medical tests.

GBS is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the neurological and immune system. Every year, 1.6 people out of every 100,000 are diagnosed with GBS.

After months of rehabilitation I returned to work. In 2008 I asked my neurologist if he thought it would be possible for me to do an Ironman one day. He politely replied, "I don't think that is possible with the condition you have. I have never heard of a Guillain-Barré Syndrome patient doing such a long endurance event." I was determined to prove him wrong and show him that with determination anything is possible. Since then I have completed five full Ironmans and eight 70.3 Ironmans, including qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

Considering the information I have researched I will be the first person with GBS to ever compete in or finish a Double Iron (4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, and a double marathon - a 52.4 mile run). 281.2 total miles in less than 36 hours. As you can see, I am so excited and very blessed to be among one of 40 athletes worldwide who will be racing in the Double Iron, but most importantly raise money for Special Olympics during such a monumental event.

To this day I continue to experience tingling and numbness throughout my body at various times, especially while racing but I hope to overcome and push my body to many more finish lines.

Thank you in advance for helping me raise money for Special Olympics and encouraging me in my personal physical goals

Brad Kelley

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