"Beating the Odds" the
by Dave Buchanan
In the Summer 2002 edition of Perspective, we introduced you to Derek Paulsen. Paulsen is the UW-Parkside mathematics major who excelled at sports and other physical activities in high school until a stroke at age 16 weakened the left side of his body.
The story, “Beating the Odds by a Shoestring,” referred to a challenge Paulsen’s parents gave him before they would let him live on campus.
"I wanted to go away [to college], you know, being an independent teenager. But there were things I couldn't do such as tying my shoes," he said. "So, I commuted my first semester. During Christmas break, my dad said, 'If you can tie your shoes by the end of break, we'll sign you up for a room at Ranger Hall.'"
Paulsen conquered the shoestrings during that break and today he not only lives on campus but he serves as a resident adviser.
Now, he’s taking on another challenge involving shoestrings. Only this time the strings are on a pair of running shoes. Paulsen is training to run a marathon to benefit the American Stroke Association (ASA).
Although he has 26.2 miles of asphalt ahead of him, Paulsen is confident he can make it because he has a good team behind him.
“By joining the ASA’s ‘Train To End Stroke’ program,” he wrote in a recent email, “I have a coach, a team to run with, training schedules, a clinic, and a reason that makes this more than a personal goal. I am helping to raise funds for stroke research, education and advocacy programs.”
He also expects to have a nice tan since the marathon will be run in Hawaii. His fund raising goal is $5,500, much of which will help the ASA assist other stroke victims.
To find out more about Paulsen’s efforts, visit his personal ASA website.