Local pediatrician Alison Delgado hopes memoir will lift people up during the pandemic
On Oct. 16, 2010, Alison Delgado was hit by a car while riding her bike while in residency at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The collision, which resulted in bruising on her heart and lungs, four broken neck bones, a broken jaw, a broken collarbone, a broken sternum and an aneurysm that eventually burst, should have killed her.
But it didn’t.
Delgado, an avid marathoner who was determined to get back to work, underwent two aneurysm surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, and was cleared to start running again in March 2011.
In May 2012, Delgado placed fourth in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon, her first marathon since the accident. A month later, she and her husband Tim relocated to Park City where she began work as a pediatrician at Summit Pediatrics.
All of this and more can be read in Delgado’s new self-published memoir “My Race for Life,” which is available on Amazon, and her own website myraceforlife.com.
Delgado had been thinking of writing a book since 2013.
“Whenever we told someone my story, they would always ask where the book or movie was,” she said. “At the time, we looked into having another journalist interview me, my family and friends to write the story.”
The writer pitched the idea to a handful of publishing companies, and was turned down, so in 2018, Delgado decided to write the book herself.
“I felt my story could inspire a lot of people who have been through similar situations or have had loved ones who have gone through similar situations,” she said. “I thought my story could show them that they can survive those trials and go on to live a normal life.”
Delgado took a year to write the manuscript, and started it on a flight to Cincinnati after she was invited to participate in the 20th anniversary of the Flying Pig Marathon.
The biggest challenge for Delgado while writing the memoir was remembering what happened after the accident.
“To get the details for those chapters, I sent out messages to co-residences who were with me during my residency, and people who worked with my spouse,” she said. “I wanted them to be honest with me, so I could get the reality of the situation.”
Delgado also looked to her mother, who started writing a journal two days after the accident.
“She documented my progress, and I used that to fill in some of the blanks,” Deldago said.
The interviews were emotional for Delgado.
“I spoke to my best friend from college who flew down to be with me and my family the day of the accident, and we cried a lot during that conversation,” she said.
Delgado also spoke with the resident physician who took Tim’s shift the day of the accident.
“I was on the phone with her for an hour talking about that day, and what her thoughts were,” she said. “We both cried through the entire phone call.”
Delgado had an epiphany as she wrote about returning to her residency, and what it felt like to start running again.
“I developed a whole new perspective on life,” she said. “Although my biggest fear was that I was never going to be able to go back to work, I began looking at running differently.”
Throughout her life, Delgado was a competitive runner.
“Much of my self worth was related to running, but once I got out of the hospital and back to running, I felt how lucky I was to run, let alone walk,” she said. “So I decided I was just going to run for fun, which I should have done from the beginning.”
Once Delgado finished the manuscript, she gave it to some friends to read.
“I asked them to tell me if it’s any good, because I decided if it wasn’t any good that I wouldn’t pursue it,” she said with a laugh. “But they liked it.”
Deldago searched for publishing companies and serendipitously came across Cincinnati Book Publishing.
“They help people who are self-publishing books, and I sent the manuscript to them in December,” she said. “We had the book ready to go in the beginning of March, right when everything got crazy due to COVID-19.”
The pandemic set back Delgado’s plans to return to Cincinnati to promote the book during the 2020 Flying Pig Marathon, which was canceled.
“It’s been frustrating that I can’t do any in-person stuff, but I want to get the word out that the book is now in print,” she said.
Writing the book has also reiterated Delgado’s feeling that she is here for a purpose.
“I could have died that first day I was hit, but I didn’t, and I know that I’m here for a reason,” she said. “I think part of that is to give other people hope. I can share my story with some of my patients if I feel the need. And I also think my book can give hope to those who are going through hard times because of COVID. I think it can give encouragement to them.”
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