Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Dina Neils, who was diagnosed with Rhematoid Arthritis when she was 18, and is now a competitive long distance runner!

Here’s what she had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Winning the fight with RA, and running again despite what the doctors said. I’ve endured and overcome 10 years of chronic pain and suffering. My first triumph over this horrible disease was running my first half marathon, April 28th (the Eugene Marathon). I trained hard and ran with my heart — it was the most significant accomplishment, thus far.
How did you achieve it?
I trained hard, mentally and physically, for 16 weeks. In the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted to complete a half marathon. When I decided on Eugene, I started to doubt myself. I talked to my sister-in-law about it and told her I wasn’t sure if I should do or could do it. She asked, “Why?” To which I replied, “I’m scared!” She responded, “Since when are you scared?” I’ll never forget that conversation — she was right! RA lessened my quality of life, took my passions from me, caused me unbearable pain and illness, destroyed my joints and health…I even had two total hip replacements. Through all of these challenges, I’ve never been scared, so why would I be scared now?
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Knowing that there are people like me living with horrible, and unfair diseases that have no cure – young and old. Knowing that there are people out there suffering and fighting with all they’ve got, and who are so much worse off than I am. Who am I to complain? If I can make a difference for them, I will.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I train 5-6 days a week and I eat a healthy (Paleo) diet. I’m currently crossing over into the Triathlon world, so I’ve added swimming and cycling to my training schedule in addition to running and cross training. In regard to eating healthy, it is important for me to stick to foods that reduce inflammation — this helps with my RA.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been lucky enough to receive lots of fantastic advice from many people, so it’s difficult to say what the best is. But here’s one of my favorites: “Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring.” That resonates with me on many different levels.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
I love being able to use running for the greater good — running with a purpose is very rewarding.
Who do you exercise for, and why?
I’m currently racing to help find a cure for Arthritis. The team is called Racing For A Cure. However, I race for everyone who needs strength or inspiration and for those who physically can’t race themselves.

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