By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — For decades, running was second nature to Pat Glover. An avid competitive athlete, Glover spent more than 40 years racing and volunteering in the local running community. A few years ago, Glover got into biking and swimming as well, and was looking forward to pushing himself further into his newfound hobbies.
But all of that came to a screeching halt during the summer when, in order to save his life, doctors had to amputate Glover’s right leg above the knee.
A well-known fixture in the local running world, Glover, 71, has an extensive and impressive resume. He was inducted into the Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club Hall of Fame, and has served as director for many local races.
What happened to him, Glover said, is still baffling. His diet was healthy and he was getting plenty of exercise every day. Then, out of the blue, Glover explained that he started to have vascular issues with his leg.
He was admitted to Albany Medical Center and though attempts were made to save his leg, after being in the hospital for three weeks, it became infected. It was then, Glover said, that he was told that he would need to have the leg amputated in order to save his life.
Now, a few months into rehab, Glover said that the road to recovery has been a tough one. His transition out of the hospital was fairly smooth as a result of friends who helped him around the house at first. Glover got a prosthetic leg a few weeks ago, and, wanting to be as independent as possible, he also purchased a hand-cycle that still allows him to go outside and ride, and he had his car re-outfitted with a left-foot accelerator. He also purchased a new bathing suit that helps him swim, works out on some machines at the gym, and recently linked up with a personal trainer who is also an amputee.
To make the situation more difficult, Glover’s wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago. Glover was and still is her primary caretaker. Dealing with both issues at the same time was tough, but now that he has started therapy, Glover said that can begin again to focus on helping his wife, including going to Boston with her to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she receives treatment.
Still, he wishes that the process would go faster.
“It really is very challenging,” Glover said of his weekly hours of intense physical therapy.
To help Glover, the Shmaltz Brewing Running Club, a collective of runners who hold weekly, non-competitive runs at the Shmaltz Brewing Company, held an event known as a beer mile to raise money on Wednesday. During a beer mile, runners run a mile, but take a break each quarter to drink a beer.
Linda Kimmey, who organized the run for Glover, said that the group wanted to give back to him in any way it could after watching him support the local running community for so many years. What had started as a small event became an outpouring of support from more than 100 runners. The beer mile raised $4,000 for Glover.
“He’s just a truly nice person,” Kimmey said of Glover. “We’re thrilled with the feedback.” Part of the proceeds, Kimmey said, could go toward helping Glover purchase a running blade for his leg so that he can resume his passion.
Glover said he fully intends on making the transition to a prosthetic that will allow him to run again. He is also looking into getting a prosthetic that would allow him to ride a bike and take part in spinning classes again.
“That absolutely is a goal of mine,” he said.
But for now, he’s taking his recovery one day at a time, and he has learned to focus on the road ahead, rather than feeling down about any abilities he lost with the amputation. Going through the amputation, he said, has allowed him to sympathize with others who are in his same situation. But at the same time, he said, he knows that other people are much more restricted than he is in what they can do, and he said that he’s grateful and lucky that, for the most part, he will still be able to take part in all of the activities that he’s poured his life into.
“Don’t dwell on the things you can’t do anymore,” Glover said. “Dwell on the things you can do.”