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Fighting for Lizzy: Bridget’s Journey with AFS (Part 1)


The AFS community just got a whole lot tougher.

Don’t let the big smile and bubbly laugh fool you; she’s been setting an example for her three daughters since before they were born. If you need some extra motivation to get your shoes on and get to your Weight Loss Solution class, meet Bridget Dermody.

Bridget is coming to Applied Fitness Solutions in Plymouth to get back into running shape this spring. It’s been over ten years since she’s ran in an event, but Bridget is no stranger to running – from high school track and cross country to Army training runs while stationed in Germany.

But this isn’t just any 5K. Bridget will be running in the SJ5K – an event organized by students at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (P-CEP) on Sunday, May 7th to provide financial and community support for Plymouth-Canton families in medical crisis. Honorees receive financial help raised by the event to pay for life-altering medical situations as well as support from the SJ5K community. This year’s event is the seventh annual and the seven honorees include P-CEP alumni, parents, faculty, and students… students like Bridget’s daughter Lizzy Verdugo, a Canton High School freshman.

For years, doctors called Lizzy a “late bloomer” even though she was extremely small and frail for her age. Finally, just this past April, she found a specialist that was able to find out what was causing her condition. Doctors found a cancerous brain tumor blocking her pituitary gland. She underwent surgery to install a shunt–an internal line to drain fluid from her brain into her stomach. After four rounds of chemotherapy she will soon find out if the cancer is completely gone so she can start growth hormone therapy.

Further testing uncovered the diagnosis of diabetes insipidus, a rare type of diabetes that causes an imbalance of water (not sugar) characterized by extreme thirst, headaches, weight loss, and delayed growth. Finally, her family and doctors were able to begin treating her debilitating symptoms and begin on a path toward growth.

Despite all of this, Bridget says Lizzy remains bright, extremely organized, thoughtful of everyone, and very emotionally mature, asking questions about her treatment that urges her nurses to research and report back.

This is why you’ll see Bridget working out at AFS – getting ready to run to support her little girl and all of the six other amazing people honored this year. Stay tuned for her update after her first assessment with Brooke in a few weeks.

This is a three part story, so check back for updates on Bridget’s progress, Lizzy’s treatment and recovery, and how you can help!

The owner of the Plymouth location, Devin, is expanding AFS’s partnership with the SJ5K in 2017. He plans to hold fundraising workouts in the next few months as well as a water drive in April to help hydrate the runners on race day.

Get involved in the 2017 SJ5K

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