More to the Story with Staley: Running to Live

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — It’s one thing to be a runner, maybe running a mile or two several times a week. Maybe every day. It’s another thing to be a runner because you have to run. And simply put, you run because your life depends on it.

Dr. Josh Yother is the president of Skyuka Hall. A K-12 school in Brainerd that specializes in teaching kids with learning differences.

About a year ago, Yother suffered a heart attack – a really bad one.

Dr. Yother said, “When I walked in, they did an EKG and within two minutes, I had eight people working on me. It was a level of fear I’d never experienced before. I didn’t have much longer to live. It was a bad one.”

In a span of 48 hours, Yother underwent two surgeries. But his heart was a mess, and seriously damaged. So when doctors delivered that news, Yother flinched.

“So basically, I’m alive to hear that my heart is a train wreck,” Dr. Yother said. “I asked them if they saved me to die? They said no. Just hang on.”

The doctors had a plan: start running immediately. It will save your life. In fact, Yother was told to run a marathon. Find one. Run in it.

“You need to look at a marathon. I said what? I played baseball so I wouldn’t have to run!” Dr. Yother explained. “But they said we’ve learned if you run a marathon, it will really benefit your heart.”

So, after a lifetime of working out, but never running, Josh Yother started running. Everyday.

Since last April, he’s logged almost 800 miles. On January 8th, he ran that marathon. At Disney World.

Yother says he’s a changed man now. Not only the way he works out, but the way he eats, the way he thinks, the whole enchilada. He had no choice. It was a matter of staying alive.

“I want to be around to see my daughters get married,” Dr. Yother said. “I want to see my son graduate. I want to see all of these wonderful things that will happen at this school.”

So Josh Yother continues to run. He says his school, Skyuka Hall, is a place for underdogs. Just like he is.

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