Orlando runner Gelcys Casteneda, who overcame severe scoliosis, fibromyalgia and a brain disease that causes chronic migraines, participated in the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge during the second annual Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort. Casteneda, 34, ran the 10K on Saturday followed by the half marathon on Sunday, conquering the 19.3-mile challenge while hundreds of spectators cheered her on.
At 15, Casteneda had surgery to correct a 53-degree curve to her spine, which was threatening to crush her heart. But as an adult, her spine has regressed and returned to a 34-degree curve. In addition to battling fibrolyalgia and migraines that leave her in constant pain, her scoliosis makes it difficult to breathe.
Except when she’s running, which somehow alleviates the pain. Casteneda says she runs to prove to herself that her medical conditions won’t stop her and to show her son that it’s important to never give up despite life’s challenges.
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