This year, Rebekah Celdro crossed the finish line at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, something she never thought she would achieve in her lifetime. Less than a year prior to her achievement, she weighed over 200 pounds and her position managing an ‘Eat’n Park’ restaurant meant she was turning to quick and filling fried food whenever she was feeling hungry.
Her change in lifestyle was prompted when Celdro came across a Facebook post by her friend and former co-worker, Chris Moore. His post detailed his longtime battle with chronic kidney disease and doctors had just informed him that he would need a kidney transplant or to start dialysis. Celdro stated that the post “would tug at my heart” she went on to say “I didn’t see any call for action. I didn’t see any people saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ And I just thought I had to do something.”
Rebekah sprung into action, messaging Moore offering her kidney and completely by chance they happened to be the same blood type. However, Rebekah’s determination came to a halt when she went to medical teams to start the process but they turned her down, telling her that at 5 foot 7 and 213 pounds, she was too heavy.
Donor’s body mass index needed to be 32 or lower to decrease the chances of complications or added risks and Rebekah needed to lose at least 15 pounds to be within this bracket. Upon hearing this, Rebekah admitted “My actual thought was, ‘I’m too fat to save my friend’s life.’ And that sucked, but that’s at least something you can change.”
Rebekah’s changes started immediately as she downloaded fitness apps to track progress and enrolled in a 5k run to aid her weight loss. Despite the 5k being a serious challenge for Celdro, it did not deter her from her overall goal. The 5k motivated her further and within a couple of months, she was running three to four miles per day.
The following spring, she was down 40 pounds in weight and completed the half marathon in just three hours and 14 minutes. This huge step for Celdro proved she could do anything she put her mind to, she described “It was a feeling like there wasn’t anything in the world I couldn’t accomplish because I just accomplished this.”
Celdro’s success means she is being prepped for transplant surgery in the next three to six months with hopes to recover quickly and participate in the Pittsburgh marathon in May 2018. Moore, the recipient of the kidney was in awe of Celdro’s kindness and altruism. He said “I use her courage to give myself courage. If she can do this, then I can do this,”