Atayne 360 - April 2011

Moving Beyond Sustainability to Thrivability

Atayne founder Jeremy Litchfield recently traveled to Las Vegas to deliver the keynote address at Techtextil North America, the leading trade show for the technical fabrics industry.  Resisting temptation to deliver his moderately compelling Elvis impersonation, Jeremy seized the mic to educate a packed room of industry leaders about the limitations of over-used terminology like green and sustainability.  He urged companies to adopt a new philosophy called thrivability where businesses, poeple, and the planet can prosper.  Check out the Red Shirt Blog to read an excerpt from his talk. more >>

Play It Forward: Soles 4 Soles

Soles4SoulsActiveLogo.jpgEveryone has a pair of shoes, right?  Unfortunately, no.  Poverty and natural disasters means millions of people worldwide lack decent footwear.  Enter this month’s Play It Forward organization:  Soles4Souls.  This Nashville-based charity collects gently warn shoes and gives them to adults and children in need of a good pair of kicks.
 
According to their website: “Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 13 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 7 seconds.)”  Join Atayne in supporting Soles4Souls and save on your next purchase at Atayne.com.
 
If you shop on Atayne.com during the next 30 days and use the promo code playitforwards4s we’ll donate 10% of your purchase price to Soles 4 Souls and cover your shipping costs.

Bolder Challenge: Commute By Human Power

act bolderThis month, commute to work using human power and share your story.  Biking and walking are encouraged. So are skateboards, kayaks, and unicycles.  Be creative.  Just make sure your “vehicle” doesn’t have an engine other than you, and let us know what you observe on your open-air commute to and from the salt mine.  The three people with the most interesting story, as measured by the number of likes, will receive an Atayne Trash T.  Visit Atayne’s Bolder Challenge page to join in the fun >>

Adam Fitzgerald:  Inspiration and Relentless Forward Motion

Even before he was born, doctors said Adam Fitzgerald would not be able to talk or walk.  A few months after he was born, Adam was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a severe brain abnormality that threatened his very survival.  More than four decades and 26 surgeries later, Adam has not only defied the odds, he is planning to run another ultramarathon.  Atayne recently invited Adam to share his story in his own words.

By Adam Fitzgerald

Some of my physical issues started early for me.  The doctors encouraged my mom and dad to abort me. They said that I would never walk or talk and I would be a vegetable my whole life.  Luckily for me, my parents decided to see what would happen as an abortion was out of the question for them.  I was born early and weighed 3 pounds. Back in 1968 that was pretty small.

At 5 months they discovered that I was hydrocephalic.  Hydrocephalus (hahy-druh-sef-uh-luhs) is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities of the brain called ventricles. The ventricles will continue to get larger which will cause brain damage then death. What they did to help this is implant a shunt in my brain.  Once the pressure gets to a certain point, a valve will open draining the excess fluid either into the heart or the stomach.  I was not expected to live through the surgery but pulled through.

At the age of 12 the shunt failed.  There were many complications that went along with it, and again I was not expected to live.  They decided to try and replace the shunt.  This surgery was successful.  Over the next 20 years, I didn’t have any major issues with the hydrocephalus, just some minor issues.  I started running in high school as any contact sport was out because of the shunt.  It was in high school that I developed asthma.  I ran Cross Country and Track through High School and lettered all four years.  After graduating high school I turned my focus to martial arts.  Over the years, I received a Black Belt in Taekwondo, a Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do, and a purple belt in Haidong Gumdo.

Adam F in the HospitalAt the age of 32, I got very sick and we didn’t know why as all the tests that were run came back normal. After 2 months of testing and dropping down to 128 pounds, I found out I had an infection in my brain and had to undergo emergency brain surgery to remove the infected shunt.  I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with an external catheter coming from my head.  After two weeks of high doses of antibiotics they performed a second brain surgery to place another shunt.  I was out of work for about a month.  And it was during this time that I came up with the idea of running an ultramarathon.

Adam F 50kNeedless to say, my wife thought that I had lost my mind.  I had run a marathon back in 2000, so I had an idea of what long distance was like. Lori gave her blessing, and seven months after the second brain surgery, I ran my first 50k.  This was in 2001.  A year and a half later, I had another brain infection and 2 brain surgeries.

Since 2001, I have had a number of issues with the hydrocephalus among other stuff.  One of the biggies was the hearing loss. I started to lose my hearing about 12 years ago.  Five surgeries to correct it didn’t work. I had a profound loss in my left ear.  And after severe bouts of vertigo, I ended up having to have a labrynthectomy.  This is where they actually remove the balance center from your inner ear.  Because of this, I had to relearn how to walk.

After this difficult process, I decided to set a goal which was to run a 12 hour ultra.  I ended up running the Freedom Park Ultramarathon in Morganton, NC on December 31, 2009.  I think I covered 55 miles.  

2010 was a difficult year as I had come down with meningitis, had two other hospitalizations then a shunt failure requiring brain surgery on July 4.  The surgery on July 4 was my 26th surgery. Fourteen of those 26 were brain surgeries.  In just over the past 10 years, I’ve had 17 of the 26 surgeries.  

This past December, I ended up losing the rest of my hearing.  At this point, I am completely deaf.  I am scheduled for cochlear implant surgery this June 2.  Hopefully, after that surgery, I can move forward with picking another ultramarathon to run this year.

It has been a challenge to say the least, but I try to use the phrase that I hear a lot at Ultras:  It’s all about relentless forward motion.  It is not a matter of if you will really hurt or want to give up, but when. Just keep putting one foot in from of the other and keep moving forward.  I do that in ultras as well as life.

I’m not going to be defeated or let a few surgeries keep me from doing what I love to do.  I just tell people that I have to squeeze ultramarathons between surgeries.  Thanks for letting me share.  I really hope that this might be able to encourage somebody and give them hope that if they are going through some pretty difficult challenges.   

Atayne at Play

Solly F.  sported his Atayne top while mountain biking in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, a huge eco-tourism escape in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. (We admit we had to Google Map it.)  Solly told us Baviaanskloof means “Baboons’ Ravine” and is home to...well...lots of baboons, obviously.  Wilderness Area visitors also can spot three of Africa’s Big 5:  Cape Buffalo, Rino, and Leopard.  Accoring to Solly:  “On a previous ride, my brother and I free-camped without tents.  The next morning we found leopard tracks around our overnight spot.  That was the last time we didn’t take tents!”
 
Atayne in Baviaanskloof RSA


It’s a Little Known Fact...

Cliff Claven
Congratulations to March winner Shannon P who knew that Atayne founder Jeremy Litchfield gave the keynote address about the need for businesses to move beyond green and sustainability to start focusing on thrivability. Now brace yourself for April’s question...
 
What are Atayne’s 6 Ms of product Thrivability?
 
Remember, all answers can be found on our website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or past issues of our newsletter.
 
To join in the fun, email your answer to adventure@atayne.com.  To be entered into the drawing for the $25 gift certificate, your answer must be received by Saturday, April 30.
 
Until next Month, Keep it Clean!
 
 
The Atayners