Thousands of runners crossed the finish line at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle over the weekend, but for one man, those final moments in Grant Park “surprised everyone.”
Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez, of Rockford, joined his wife and his primary physician Dr. “Ric” Saguil in the Shuffle’s two-mile walk Sunday.
Ramirez, who is in a wheelchair, was pushed the entire span of the race by Saguil, at least until the final few steps.
The 37-year-old was the victim of a hit-and-run accident while riding his motorcycle on his way home from picking up house locks from Home Depot in April 2017.
“Thankfully, he had his motorcycle helmet and proper gear on, but it could not protect him from sustaining serious injuries: bruised lung, concussion, and two crushed legs,” Advocate Aurora Health said in a statement.
Since then, he has had his left leg amputated twice and had more than half a dozen surgeries on right leg, which now consists of a steel rod in place of a tibia and a steel plate.
“Eddie’s next goal is to walk, which is going to happen this year,” Saguil said in a statement. “He has been going to physical therapy and he has a great outlook on life. He is always smiling and is an encouragement to other patients, which is why I said I would push him in his wheelchair at the Shamrock Shuffle.”
Just before he crossed the finish line, Ramirez stopped, stood up, and walked “a few shaky steps” with his wife, finishing the race on his feet.
Next year, he hopes to be walking in time for the 2020 Shamrock Shuffle.
As for his advice to others who may be recovering from an accident, Ramirez had one message.
“Talk to someone,” he said. “Don’t go through it alone, which is a darker path. Even if you don’t know what to say or it goes sideways get it out as you will get better about explaining what is going on with you the more you share.”