COLLEEN KELLY ALEXANDER
SURVIVOR. THRIVER. MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
Colleen Kelly Alexander is a lifelong athlete and motivational speaker who inspires positive change, contribution, determination and actionable gratitude. With her indomitable spirit and incredible story of survival, Colleen teaches others how to aim higher, be stronger and use adversity as a catalyst to make the world a better, brighter place.
In 2011, Colleen was run over by a freight truck, and after five weeks in a coma and twenty-nine surgeries later, Colleen survived. Rather than let the trauma and PTSD control her life, she became determined to find a way to make something positive from her pain. She decided she'd run again and dedicate her race medals to the everyday heroes around us, including the medical staff and blood donors who saved her life. Since then Colleen has run fifty races and completed forty triathlons, including four half-Ironman events. Now a spokesperson for the Red Cross, Colleen shares her incredible inspirational story to encourage others to take that first step forward.
Colleen is uniquely qualified to speak to the miraculous power of body, mind, spirit and the phenomenal potential every human being has to make a positive impact. She approaches each moment – each breath – as a beautiful opportunity to experience the divine. She teaches others how to embrace that perspective so they too may persevere. Break down barriers. Open themselves up. Connect. Give back. THRIVE.
A PRODUCT OF HEROES
After undergoing brain surgery in 2007 for a Chiari malformation, Colleen overcame lupus and cryoglobulinemia diagnosis in 2009, pushing forward to become a successful, competitive triathlete. In 2011, while on a routine bike ride, she was run over by a freight truck. Crushed, ripped apart and bleeding out, she flatlined twice, spent five weeks in a coma and has since endured over twenty surgeries. Defying diagnoses, dire predictions, and death, Colleen stunned doctors by bucking the odds and coming back to run more than 50 races and complete 25 triathlons, including 4 half Ironman events since her trauma.
On October 8, 2011, cycling home from work, Colleen was run over by a multi-ton freightliner. It rolled over her and dragged her along the road. When medics arrived, they found the young woman completely mangled from the stomach down: a broken pelvis and a severely de-gloved abdomen, leg, hips, vaginal area, and behind. She flatlined within minutes of arriving at Yale Trauma Center.
Colleen received over 70 blood transfusions – including whole blood platelets and plasma – after her body was left so drained of blood her heart lacked anything to pump. Requiring full resuscitation twice, Colleen remained in a coma for over five weeks. She endured multiple surgeries and severe wound management as her broken body struggled to heal.
To date, Colleen has required over 24 surgeries to put her body back together. She lost her job. Her carefree sense of safety. Her dream of being a mother.
But she has been embraced by heroes: the bystander that ran into the road to stop traffic after she was run over. The emergency medics on scene. The countless medical professionals in the trauma bay. And even while she lay unaware, the nurses, aides, and doctors who cared for her so tenderly, every single day.