Woman who suffered paralysis as a baby runs in 5K she revived with settlement money

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - From photos, it wasn’t obvious what happened to Kate Nason.

“I was only 9 months old, so I don’t know what she did to me,” Nason said. “But I do know God gave me a second chance at life.”

Nason, now 32, suffered a traumatic brain injury while in the care of a negligent babysitter. The brain damage left her hemiplegic with paralysis stretching down the entire right side of her body.

Attorneys advised her parents to accept an insulting settlement offer of $30,000 because there were no witnesses and winning in court would be highly difficult. Difficult, like the rest of her life.

It sounds like a tragedy, but Nason thought otherwise, instead choosing to push through the pain.

“This is the point where you say, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to make it through this one,’” Nason said while running with a limp. “But you’ll be able to kinda work through the pain.”

She was working through the pain while allowing WAVE 3 News anchor John Boel to train with her, running laps around Highview Park. She was showing off to tackle hills by taking deep breaths, and her effort itself was breathtaking.

Paralysis gripped one side of her body, but gratitude grabbed both sides.

“God has definitely been on my side more than my fair share,” Nason said. “You gotta embrace life. You just have to know God is with you everywhere you go.”

Nason’s embrace on life is a stranglehold.

When the Highview Fire Department was thinking about dropping the Frogtown Hop 5K fundraiser for the Crusade for Children due to rising costs, she decided to take over sponsorship because she benefited from the Crusade and Kosair Children’s Hospital for years. She dips into her paltry $30,000 settlement and provides $2,500 each year to cover the 5K’s shirts and other expenses.

The line in the Bible about God loving a cheerful giver has nothing on her.

“The reason I’m in such a good mood is if you go around dour all the time, people will look at you and go, ‘What’s wrong with her?’” Nason said. “I think that’s just a part of my personality — being spunky.”

Kelly Flowers was Nason’s physical therapist when she was a child. Now, he runs the Frogtown 5K alongside her.

“With basically the effect of what would be a stroke type of effect on the entire side of her body, the effort it takes, and I’ve run with her and watched her, it is trying to get the right side of her body through for three miles,” Flowers said.

Flowers said he has seen a lot in his life. He was running the Boston Marathon in 2013 when the bombs went off.

Still, he said he’s never seen anything or anyone like Nason.

“You’ve got someone who belies the complications and difficulties imposed on her and she is nothing but joyous,” Flowers said. “She’s out there when they have that 5K every year and she just inspires everybody.”

On top of everything else, this year, Nason is dealing with a knee injury.

“It was tough sitting on the sideline,” she said. “But I started rehab last week and exercises, and I’m doing it, and I’m feeling pretty good right now.”

“She’s the epitome to me of all the social clichés you’ve heard,” Flowers said. “Life of the party, never met a stranger, lights up a room everywhere she goes. You cannot be down around Kate.”

Running takes everything she has, but she has so diligence that she knows the hop in her step will be back before Frogtown.

The Frogtown Hop 5K starts Saturday, Sept. 18 at 8:00 a.m. at the Highview Fire Department.

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