WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — Jennifer Potter was told by doctors she’d never run a marathon again after being diagnosed with a heart condition and suffering a heart attack.
But as she told 12 News, she’s defying the odds—and taking each day a step at a time.
Potter first ran the Boston Marathon in 2011, running for Boston Children’s Hospital to support her friend’s son battling a heart condition. Fast forward more than a decade, and she’s running to show her three children that anything is possible.
“If someone tells you you can’t do something, prove them wrong,” she said. “Life is just getting started and if you want to do something, what is stopping you? If you can’t run, walk.”
In 2012, while pregnant with her daughter, Potter’s world flipped upside down with the initial diagnosis of her heart condition.
“After going through an event where you think you’re not going to come out of it, thinking ‘Is today … is this it? Is this my last day?'” she recalled. “Every morning I just wake up and am grateful I’m alive.”
With the support of her husband, the two continued running less intensive “Spartan Races.”
But in 2019, Potter would face a setback: a minor heart attack caused by a heart arrhythmia. That’s when doctors told her she would no longer be able to pursue intense exercise like marathons.
Potter wouldn’t accept that, however, and while she recovered she worked with cardiologists to find a way to get running again.
“One day it hit me: ‘Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I do something to inspire other people, motivate myself, motivate my children?'” Potter asked.
With the right doctors and routine, Potter said every single day is a chance to go the extra mile and inspire the kids who motivate her.
“Here are my kids outside with those big ‘Fatheads’ of my face saying, ‘Mom you’re doing it.’ I’m like, ‘This is why I’m doing it.'”
Potter is once again raising money for the Boston Children’s Hospital, a place where all of her children have been treated at least once.
Now just a week away from running in the Boston Marathon, Potter had a message for anyone going through adversity.
“If you ever feel that you can’t do something or you feel that there’s something you want to do, find a way to do it,” she said.
You can make a donation to Jennifer’s cause here.