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Marathon runner recovers from head on collision

by GEORGE RIBA

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wfaa.com

Posted on July 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 19 at 2:01 PM

HEATH, TX - Sam Killian is a typical eight year old. He's adventurous and outgoing with one exception.

Sam has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare disorder that stricken one in every 35 thousand births. It's because of Sam that his father John became a fund raiser for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy to help find a cure.
 
"Sam's muscles when he's running around lacks the protein to repair those muscles," says John Killian. "So instead of regenerating muscle tissue when he exercises or does things, his muscles form scar tissue and eventually overcomes the muscles. Boys are usually in a wheelchair by the age of 10 to 14, and eventually affects all the muscles in the body."
 
Sam's degenerative disease is what lead his father to become a marathon runner. He raises money for the charity by organizing groups of runners to participate in marathons.
 
Four weeks ago while driving from his Rockwall County to home to White Rock Lake in Dallas for a training run, Killian was involved in wrong way crash on interstate 30, east of downtown.
 
"I've been driving interstate 30 for 15 years now and every morning I hear something going on at the Ferguson curve," John says. "I finally found out why that morning. You’re really driving around that corner blind, and literally. I think the other car was on the highway going the wrong direction from downtown out to Ferguson. Everybody was able to miss her until we met coming around that corner. We really couldn't see anything but I did see it right before the impact.  I remember seeing headlights and thinking that's really bad. I don't remember the impact, but I remember the aftermath, the airbag, and was conscious throughout the whole thing."
 
The Crash killed a passenger in the oncoming car. Killian survived and suffered severe injuries, including a compound fracture of his right leg. Luckily, he had no head injuries.To this day, he keeps asking why.
 
"It's tough to deal with, and there's a lot more emotions than I would expected, that come from that," John says. "I hope the aftermath of this, the only thing that I could hope something positive could come from this is that she turns her life around, the driver of the other car, and I hope somebody along the way sees this or hears about it and says I’m not going to have that drink and go drive."
 
The crash happened on father’s day morning, the same day that he and his wife were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary.
 
"I got the call about 6:15 in the morning. I was asleep and I got a call from Baylor Medical Center, and I answered it and it was John," says his wife Stefanie. "My first response was why are you calling me from a hospital. It was pretty scary, but he was calm,  but it dawned on me later that it was our 18th wedding anniversary. I think that I got the best anniversary because I got John.”
 
Because of the accident, Killian won't be running at all this year. He hopes that part of his life will return sometime in 2011.
 
"They said expect a year to sort of get everything recovered," says John. "I asked very specifically, will I run again, they said as well as your willing to tolerate the pain, he thinks I’ll be able to out and do it again."
 
"For years, our family and friends have been calling John marathon man because he runs so many marathons, and is so dedicated to his marathons," Stefanie says. "Training and fund razing is which is actually why he runs marathons, but now they're calling him miracle man instead because he survived this really bad wreck."
 
While Killian's injuries are expected to heal, the future for his son Sam remains much more uncertain. For John, the fund raising for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy continues.

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