From wheelchair to marathon: Mom overcomes

Updated: Apr. 1, 2015 at 5:40 PM EDT
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Frank McLeod has been her trainer for more than a decade
Frank McLeod has been her trainer for more than a decade

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - A south Georgia woman, who was told she'd never walk again after a car crash as a teenager, proved those doctors wrong in a major way. Today she's an incredible and inspirational athlete.

Stephanie Freeman is a trainer at American Body works in Fitzgerald and says running, and fitness served as her medicine and therapy.

Stephanie Freeman is a power house. She's run seven marathons, and hits the gym sometimes twice a day. You would never know she survived an accident that left her in a wheelchair.

"I workout most every day. One moment I remember hanging out with my friends, and the next moment I'm in the hospital."

Freeman was in a coma for two months, and suffered brain and lung injuries. "They didn't expect me to live through that and I pulled through and I pulled through it and I woke to find I was in a wheelchair."

But she didn't stay in one for long. "I came home from the hospital and I continue my rehab and I picked up running in my twenties."

And she got hooked. Frank McLeod has been her trainer for more than a decade. He was impressed from day one when Freeman showed up to train at 4:30 in the morning.

"So I came out and met her down at the high school and she was there on time.

She's worked hard ever since. "We would pray together and just talk running, just get things together and he ran with me in that marathon and he's been my rock through it all."

"We trained all through the winter, we trained through the summer, some days twice a day.

She says exercise is her medicine and keeps her going. "I recommend it to everyone."

Even though McLeod is the trainer, he says Freeman inspires him. "I've learned so much from her and she is an awesome lady, and I just love her."

Freeman also formed her own foundation to help others suffering from brain injuries. Freeman's foundation is called "Share your Strong." She also recently spoke in Washington on Congressional Brain Injury Awareness Day.

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