A US Marine Corps veteran who lost limbs to flesh-eating bacteria found new life with CrossFit and completed the Marine Corps Marathon.
Cindy Martinez enlisted in the Marines when she was only 17, eventually meeting her husband, David, while on active duty.
“When you go through Marine Corps boot camp or any type of training in the military, you’re trained to be prepared for something big,” she said.
In 2015, Martinez was raising two small children and working full-time when she felt an overwhelming pain in her shoulder. After a few days, her husband took her to the hospital.
Martinez was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that put her body in septic shock.
“My vessels were constricted, which didn’t allow blood flow to my extremities because the doctors wanted all the blood to go to my heart,” she said. “They told my husband, it was life over limb.”
Unfortunately, the very medications that saved her took her limbs from her.
“Her life was now in danger,” said her husband, David Martinez. “I tried to be as strong as possible for her and for the kids.”
Martinez lost both legs below the knee, her right arm above the elbow and several of her fingertips.
“When I woke up and the amputations were done, it’s a hard thing,” she said. “They’re gone, and they’re not coming back.”
Sunk into a depressive state, Martinez reached out to the CrossFit GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) gym in Dacula, Georgia, to see about becoming a member.
“I still needed to work on myself and build my endurance to walk on my prosthetics,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Let me see if CrossFit could be something I could do.’ ”
Gym founder Amanda Greaver said that while it was a bit of “trial and error” for Martinez (who could not lift 5 lbs when she arrived), she has risen to every challenge and can now squat 72 lbs and deadlift 95 lbs.
“Working out has really changed my outlook on life. It’s my form of therapy,” she said. “Now I can pick up my daughter, and I can pick up my son if I want to and hug them. … I just can’t put it into words.”
Not satisfied, Martinez set her sights on the DC Marine Corps Marathon in October of last year.
“I did the first 25 miles on my (modified) bike, and then I changed into my running prosthetics for the last 1.2 miles. My husband was there to finish it off with me,” she said.
David said he was proud of his wife.
“I could just see that determination on her face,” he said. “No matter how tired she was, she just couldn’t stop.”
According to Fox2Now, the moment was one of clarity for the Marine veteran.
“Just a year prior, I was in a hospital bed,” she said. “Whatever challenge (you face), there is a positive in everything…You just have to be willing to try something new and put yourself out there.”
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