Rowan Dennis: Running her way to recovery

An accident that could have sidelined her goals only made her stronger.

Presented by: Our York Media

It was like someone pressed pause on her life. That’s how 11-year-old Rowan Dennis describes feeling as she laid in the snow on Ski Roundtop last December, her femur shattered into pieces after hitting ice on a challenging trail.

She didn’t cry, says her mom, Courtney Dennis. She barely winced.

It wasn’t until they opened her up for emergency surgery that they realized just how extensive the damage was.

It took three screws to secure the titanium rod that’s now permanently affixed in her leg.

When she woke up from surgery, Rowan had two questions.

First, she wanted to know if her mom, who’d been unable to eat the night before, had eaten anything. Only then did she ask about herself.

“Can I still do Girls on the Run?”

Running has changed my life.

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Rowan Dennis

A year ago, Rowan would have told you she didn’t like to run.

But in the beginning of the school year she joined YWCA York’s Girls on the Run at her elementary school in West York.

Yes, they ran. But they also worked on building self-esteem and confidence and being kind to one another.

When Rowan asked to continue running with the group, Courtney knew she’d find a way.

By the end of January, more than a month before doctors said she would, Rowan started to walk again. When they told her she would have a heavy limp six months to a year after the injury, she showed she had the strength to prove everyone wrong.

Now, she’s not just able to run a 5K, she’s running up to four miles at a time.

“Running has changed my life,” Rowan says.

She says her coach, teammates, and community have all been there to support her. It’s changed her perspective and made her more appreciative of what she has.

For Courtney, it’s shown her just how strong her daughter is.

When life gives you obstacles, Rowan told her mom, you have to pave your path through them.

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