SPOKANE, Wash. -- IRONMAN Coeur d'Alene 2014 took over Idaho's scenic lake town on Sunday and one of its competitors had to push just a little bit harder than most. That man is Zane Graser.
Against the odds, literally, Graser has had the dream of finishing IRONMAN despite everything he has been dealt throughout his entire life. Watch his story in the video above as it is told by SWX's Michelle Dapper and Emmy award winning cameraman/producer Jordan Caskey.
For the deaf community the entire transcript of this video has been included.
THEY COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE…
Shawn Burke / CEO / Owner WITH Performance
“It's like taking a life journey and cutting it down into one day..
TO BRAVE WHATEVER OBSTACLES COME THEIR WAY…
MEGAN LEARY – Director of CDA Tri Team (Zane’s Sponsor)
“We're out there in the pouring rain... wind.. heat depending what day it is...”
AND TAKE ON THE ULTIMATE TEST OF BODY AND MIND...
“Some powerful times during race... challenges during race... highs and lows... taking a lifetime and putting it into one day and figuring out how get from point a to point b.. finish line... and get through valleys and highs... to get to finish line..”
AN IRONMAN FINISHER HIMSELF,... SHAWN BURKE HAS HELPED DOZENS OF ATHLETES JOIN THE IRONMAN CLUB... BUT NEVER... HAS HE COACHED A COMPETITIOR... LIKE ZANE GRASER...
“It's like having a child that's disabled.. and seeing them 30 years later still trying to make the challenges of life.. and when he came he said... I want to do Ironman.. but don't know if I can do it... I said.. I will do whatever it takes to make you get there.. he said.. I don't have a lot of money.. I said.. I don't care about that... it's not about money.. it's about helping you reach your dream and goals.. my goal is to cross the finish line.. I said... lets get started (crying)”
((MONTAGE OF ZANE TRAINING W/ MUSIC))
Zane Graser / Ironman participant
“The 1st day I jumped into the lake... I had a rough swim.. I could not get very far.. I thought what am I doing? There's no way I can do this... but I kept working at it.. it started to become possible ..”
Pat Wardian – Zane's Uncle
He has the tenacity to win... a tenacity that says .. doesn’t matter what obstacles you throw in front of me.. I can overcome it.. “
LIFE HAS BEEN A CONSTANT STRUGGLE FOR ZANE… AND IN SOME WAYS HE’S TRAINED HIS WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS RACE.
“I was born a little early... when I was young and it was when I was about 2/3 years old.. I was out walking with my parents.. and my dad told me I was turning blue.. I wasn't getting enough oxygen to my body.. so I ended up going into the hospital.. a lot of tests.. that's when they found out that I had a heart murmur. .a hole in my heart... esophagus connected to my lungs... 2 hernias.. intestines hanging out... a lot of birth defects... including being deaf... the doctor told me I would have to get surgery but costs a lot of money.. and my family couldn’t afford my surgeries.. so I was sitting in the hospital for awhile.. trying to figure out whats going to happen .. the doctor gave me 15% chance of survival .. to get through surgeries.. “
“Throughout his early years we never knew if he was going to make it.. it was pretty scary.. “
GIVEN 15% CHANCE TO LIVE... SURGERY SAVED HIS LIFE.
“I survived somehow... came out other end of surgery... “
BUT SOME 25 YEARS LATER… LIFE WOULD THROW YET ANOTHER OBSTACLE ZANE’S WAY…
“About 3—31/2 years ago I passed out.. so I ended up going back to the doctors to get some more tests... turned out I had a lot of irregular heartbeats .. getting all these dizzy spells.. I had a lot of them... not normal... getting a little nervous about that.. didn’t know what was going to happen with my life... finally the doctor told me I needed to get a pacemaker.. so I went in for surgery again…”
THE PACEMAKER SAVED HIS LIFE IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE..
“before I got my pacemaker.. I was a little negative.. frustrated with life cause of all the challenges of life...
In some ways it might be a curse.. but a the same time.. it's also a blessing... because everyday I wake up and I can feel it.. always touching it... it reminds me that I’m here everyday... and I thank god everyday.. morning when I wake up ..”
ANOTHER MISSION LIES AHEAD… ANOTHER HURDLE TO CLEAR...
“hes the kind of guy that always needs a mountain to climb.. you throw gauntlet down and imma crush it..”
“I wanted to do it at the time because I know how hard it would be... I finally decided maybe I should do it... because I felt that I could do it and I felt it would be a good example for other people .. “
“it's not a verbal inspiration... it's a silent inspiration... what he does inspires people.. “
“(CRIES)there's a bond you don’t want to break because you don’t want to let him down.. but he doesn’t want to let you down..”
NO DOUBT THE DAY WILL BE LONG…
“someone in that situation.. just feels like Superman.. “
FILLED WITH PEAKS AND VALLEYS…
“t’s going to be unbelievable to see him cross the finish line.. (cries)”
HIGHS AND LOWS…
“it's going to be one of the highlights of my entire life... I'm sure”
A LIFE JOURNEY
“he's gonna be an ironman.. “
“.. just don’t quit ..”
TO NEVER GIVING UP
“cuz you never know if you try one more time.. push it a lil further you might succeed ,, makes all difference in world. “