Apr 1, 2014
11:50 AM
Connecticut Today

Milford Man Who Ran NYC Marathon After Losing His Legs Has New Book, Events

 
Milford Man Who Ran NYC Marathon After Losing His Legs Has New Book, Events

John Tartaglio

When John Tartaglio crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon in 2009, what he felt was almost indescribable.

“It was the best feeling in the world,” he says. 

Most people who run the New York City Marathon, or any marathon, are justifiably proud, but for Tartaglio the feat was all the more amazing. 

Five years earlier, in just 24 hours, a rare bacterial infection turned the healthy then 17-year-old Tartaglio, a 2009 Fairfield University graduate from Milford, Conn., into a double-leg amputee.

Tartaglio was told he would never walk again, but through will and perseverance he proved them wrong, and then he ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, 2009. 

“I had done something that no one expected or even thought I, or anyone in my situation, could do. [Initially] I didn’t even think running was possible,” he says. “Completing the marathon meant that I had overcome my disability, in my mind.” 

On Sunday, April 6, from 1 to 4 p.m., Tartaglio, now 26, and his co-author, Andrew Chapin, will discuss the life-changing experience and sign copies of their new book, “From Tragedy to Triumph,” at Fairfield University Bookstore, at 1499 Post Road in Fairfield.

For Tartaglio, who lives in Milford with his wife and their 10-month-old daughter, the trouble began in the summer of 2004. 

“I was sick in the summer, in and out of the doctors office with high fevers,” he recalls. “I was finally diagnosed with mono. One week after I was cleared for regular activity—you're supposed to rest when you have mono—I woke up on Sunday morning with an extreme pain in my legs. It hit very suddenly, since the amputation had to happen that Sunday night.” 

When Tartaglio woke up, both his legs and left bicep had been removed, and the psychological and physical challenges that faced him were daunting.

He wondered how he would live a normal life, and he says. “I struggled with my own self-confidence in my 'new' body appearance.” 

But he pushed through, learning to walk while balancing on various prosthetics and using forearm crutches.

He would ultimately compete in 5K and 10K running competitions, as well as triathlons and even a 70.3-mile half ironman, becoming the first bilateral hip disarticulate ever to complete these events. He then ran the New York City Marathon in 2009. 

Along the way, he became a professional motivational speaker and learned how to inspire others with his story. At Fairfield University he met his co-author Chapin, a writer and middle school English teacher who lives in New Rochelle, N.Y. In 2010, the two began working together on the book about Tartaglio’s life which was released in December of 2013.

Today, Tartaglio is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from UConn. He says that he hopes people who hear his story or read his book learn the importance of determination. 

“I want people to realize that anything is possible if their goal means enough to them and they have each part of their life aligned to achieve it,” he says. 

On Sunday, April 6, from 1 to 4 p.m., John Tartaglio and Andrew Chapin will sign copies of their new book “From Tragedy to Triumph,” at Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, Fairfield. The event is free. For more information about John Tartaglio visit his website.

 

Milford Man Who Ran NYC Marathon After Losing His Legs Has New Book, Events

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