Bellin Health Care Systems, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Odds-Defying Athlete to Keynote Women’s Inspiration Dinner

Alexander competes despite nearly fatal accident, conditions

A lifelong athlete who has survived brain surgery, autoimmune disorders and a near-fatal bicycle accident has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon Women’s Inspiration Dinner on Friday, Oct. 6, the eve of the third annual 13.1-mile race and two-person relay.

Motivational speaker Colleen Kelly Alexander has battled back from more than a month in a coma, 30 surgeries and two flatlines. Yet she continues to defy diagnoses, dire predictions and death, stunning her doctors and successfully running more than 60 races and completing 30 triathlons, including four Half Ironman events. Alexander is a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross blood services who has been featured in numerous national media stories and has worked alongside Nobel peace laureates, igniting action through her philosophy of personal empowerment and spiritual generosity.

“Colleen is an incredible athlete and an amazing individual who embodies the very ideas we want to encourage in our participants — strength, tenacity and the ability to overcome life’s challenges,” said Bellin Women’s Half Marathon Race Director Linda Maxwell. “We are thrilled to have her joining us and we can’t wait to hear her inspirational message as we gear up for race day.”

After undergoing brain surgery in 2007 for a chiari malformation, Alexander overcame a lupus and cryoglobulinemia diagnosis in 2009, pushing forward to become a successful competitive triathlete. In 2011, while on a routine bike ride, she was run over by a freight truck. Crushed, ripped apart and bleeding out, she flatlined twice, spent five weeks in a coma and has since endured more than 20 surgeries. Alexander has shocked her doctors by bucking the odds and returning to an impressive athletic career.

Alexander lives in Connecticut with her husband Sean; two labs, Jamis and Coda; rescue dog from Puerto Rico, Speaky Pete; and Cat, Luna. More information is available on her website,

The Friday night Women’s Inspiration Dinner is part of a one-of-a-kind race-weekend experience for Bellin Women’s Half Marathon participants. This Friday night pasta supper, which includes gluten-free options, offers the chance for women to gather, get inspired and share their excitement ahead of Saturday’s big race. The cost of the event is included with registration. Tickets for non-participant family members and friends will be available for sale at the door.

Dubbed “a race to empower women,” the third annual Bellin Women’s Half Marathon, presented by Eli Lilly and Company, will take place Saturday, Oct. 7. The only event of its kind in Northeastern Wisconsin, the race celebrates and motivates female athletes of all levels and abilities. The focus also provides an opportunity to spotlight training and health issues specifically related to women. Registration is open now, and prices increase July 1, so interested women are encouraged to sign up today and save. Training runs for the third annual event will begin July 12. More information is available at