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Danny Kovalski: 4x4x48 Challenge

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  • Written By: Allied Services Integrated Health
Danny Kovalski: 4x4x48 Challenge

On March 5, 2021, Danny Kovalski will attempt the 4x4x48 challenge: to run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.

Here, in Danny's own words, is the story behind this incredible endeavor and why he's putting himself to the test for patients in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

On March 5, I’m participating in the 2nd Annual 4x4x48 Challenge. Every 4 hours, I will run 4 miles (run or walk - If I cannot run I do a physical activity of the equivalent for 45-60 minutes) for a total of 48 hours. It sounds a little extreme. It definitely won’t be easy. But I’m here and I’m capable - so, why not?

When you know you’re one of the lucky ones, there’s this persistent feeling to make the most of your days, to show gratitude, to give back. To be honest, it can often feel like you aren’t doing enough. You’re still human - you have bad days but you’ve also been through something that changes you. It’s a gift, really. All of this is.

On November 28, 2015, I went out for a run and my life changed forever.

Just a few blocks in, I was hit by a truck from behind. My Mother in Law was also hit but my then-pregnant wife, Maggie, was thankfully physically unharmed. To say this was a traumatic, life-altering event for our family is an understatement. We battled together and we have persevered but it has not been easy. The emotional trauma that comes with enduring an event like that is unfathomable - those scars will never truly heal. And of course, the physical battle has been a rollercoaster.

When I was hit, I was a 28-year-old avid runner in impressive physical shape. Then suddenly, I was a miracle for just breathing. The impact left me with a traumatic brain injury that required immediate surgery, numerous internal injuries, damaged vertebrae, severe road rash that covered my entire body, and a torn ACL that took nearly 6 months to discover while my other injuries subsided.

At the scene of the accident, Maggie thought I was dead. To know what that experience has done to me and Maggie, well let’s just say - I hope you never do. I spent 10 days in the ICU and a month recovering as an inpatient at John Heinz Rehabilitation facility. There, I learned to walk, talk, read, write and take care of myself again. My recovery was remarkable. Looking back, it’s nothing short of miraculous. Years later, I still struggle with many things. Most you’d never notice. I have aches and pains that I shouldn’t have at 33 considering the care I gave myself.

Sometimes, I struggle to find the right words to say or to control my emotions. The cognitive impacts of a TBI are so complex and secondary to physical recovery in many ways. I have severe cases of vertigo regularly brought on by foods I eat or things as simple as playing with my kids. My balance is terrible. My knee will never be the same and an entire side of my body feels off. To be blunt, all of that, as frustrating as it can be some days is nothing compared to the alternatives. I could be gone. I could be paralyzed, unable to speak. But I’m not, I’m here and I’m grateful.

So I’m doing this crazy thing in a few weeks. I’m going to run a whole lot of miles in a short period of time because I CAN. I’m raising money that I’ll be donating to Ryan’s Run Foundation which directly funds Allied Services in NEPA, where I was born and raised and where the accident occurred. Allied Services is one of the area’s largest nonprofits with a mission of “providing miracles in rehab”. As a direct benefit of that mission as a patient at John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital, I can’t think of a place more deserving of my time and attention.

Without Allied Services, I’m not sure where I’d be. And I know I’m not alone.

They help countless patients and their families every year. Me and my family are eternally grateful for all they did for us. If you are so inclined, I will be honored to represent you as I complete my task. 100% of your donation will go directly to Ryan’s Run. And if you’re up for a challenge in March, I’d be happy to have you join me! You can complete the challenge from anywhere - Why not?

You can support Danny's efforts.