Paris Sunio will attempt to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday.
He is not the only runner from Dallas headed up to Chi-town, but his is a special story.
Less than three months ago, Sunio—member of the White Rock Running Co-op and father of a 9-month-old girl—nearly died from severe staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph infection.
It started with an excruciating pain in the groin following his morning training and led to days in the hospital with mind-blowing stabbing pain, confused doctors and a 106-degree fever accompanied by shakes and delirium before medical staff finally figured out what was wrong.
Staph infections can range from relatively benign to fatal. Doctors told Sunio his was life threatening.
Following several days of hospitalization, Sunio returned home with a tube in his arm through which he administered daily doses of intravenous antibiotics.
He couldn’t walk a step.
Naturally, he was deeply depressed about his condition and the interruption of his plan to participate in one of the world’s premiere running events.
But only briefly.
Sunio is one of those people with a near-unwavering optimism. He hardly ever stops smiling and never loses his sense of humor.
Within a few days, he was able to scoot around his house using a metal walker.
“The way I walked was like a pregnant lady waddling, only way slower,” he says. “My 9-month old can stand up from a laying down position 10 times faster than me.”
That little improvement gave way to a great motivation to recover.
Despite the fact that Sunio couldn’t stand without a walker, and that he would have an IV dangling from his arm for the next two months, he decided to follow through with his plan to run in Chicago October 7.
Most of his running friends called him crazy. Some kindly (or not so kindly) tried to talk him out of it.
“I know they are just worried that I might get hurt,” he says.
Over the next several weeks, Sunio walked at NorthPark mall, pushed his daughter Elise along the Katy Trail, did some jogging at Lake Highlands High School’s track, got the cursed IV removed from his arm and eventually ran the 9-plus miles around White Rock Lake.
He and his wife Grace left Wednesday for Chicago.
Sunio plans to run, slowly, the first half of the race and then walk as far as he can.
He is not hell-bent on finishing, he says, but he is hell-bent on giving it a shot.