Hannah’s story: ‘Never stop proving them wrong’
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Biking 100 miles meant more to Kristin and Hannah Wilz than simply seeing the sights as they rode in the BayCare Clinic Century Bayshore to Lakeshore on Saturday, June 3.
It was proof again that there’s nothing they can’t do together.
Kristin and Hannah are a mother and daughter from Sturgeon Bay. They’ve long faced – and overcome – challenges.
Hannah, who is 21, was born 14 weeks premature. She was born with a brain hemorrhage. An artery in the brain had burst and bled into the surrounding tissues. The hemorrhage caused cerebral palsy, adversely affecting her movement, muscle control, posture and motor skills.
Hannah wasn’t expected to walk or talk. Every movement she made, whether turning her head, moving her hand or talking, wouldn’t come naturally, her doctors said. Every movement would have to be thought through.
But Hannah defied the odds. At 19 months, she was walking and talking. Before she’d turned 2, Hannah had already overcome some of her life’s biggest challenges.
Both mother and daughter ride with a reminder of that resiliency. They have matching tattoos.
“It’s my left baby foot tattooed on my foot and it says ‘Never stop proving them wrong,’” Hannah says. “You can’t tell that I have cerebral palsy, but it reminds me of it and this shows me how far I’ve come.”
In June, Hannah took on another challenge as she joined her mother for the BayCare Clinic Century bike tour.
Hannah wasn’t a rider like Kristin, but she wanted to ride with her to lend support.
“She’s always been there for me, and I wanted to be there for her,” Hannah said.
Fellow riders also offered support.
One century rider stayed with Hannah and Kristin for the first 50 miles as they biked through Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties. He guided Hannah and coached her along the way, pushing her to keep going and reminding her that she could do all 100 miles.
“She wasn’t going to listen to her mom when I tried to tell her these things, but she’d listen to him,” Kristin says. “He was great.”
“He was there with his daughter and they’re both avid bikers, but he slowed down to stay with us,” she says. “He gave me tips on biking – how to bike better and faster.”
For Hannah, completing the BayCare Clinic Century was a huge accomplishment.
“This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. People don’t realize how hard this actually is, but I can say I did it,” she says.
The ride was as rewarding for Kristin.
“This experience allowed me to be able to do the journey with my daughter, to experience the countryside and the area it was included in. It was just an awesome experience,” she says.
Just weeks after her 100-mile ride, Hannah started training for a half-marathon in October and a marathon in November.
But mother and daughter will keep riding. They’re already looking forward to biking the 100-mile course in the BayCare Clinic Century again next year.