By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – An avid sports fan was surprised this week with an all-expenses-paid trip to spring training courtesy of UCHealth and the Colorado Rockies. The gift is a celebration of her amazing recovery from a difficult surgery.

Linda Chandler (credit: CBS)

Linda Chandler, 53, not only committed to recovering from leg surgery, but she changed her life for the better.

On Monday, Linda was the center of attention at UCHealth Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation because Linda is their super star.

(credit: Linda Chandler)

“I am running,” she told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Linda is tackling all sorts of races, year round, which amazes the mother of three.

“Before, I was literally on the couch all the time,” she said.

(credit: Linda Chandler)

Linda was more than 70 pounds heavier. In 2017, a rare tear in the cartilage in her knee, the meniscus, led to surgery.

“Basically they broke my leg and realigned it, straightened it nine degrees,” she said. “My first PT (physical therapy) appointment I came rolling in here in a wheelchair.”

Linda was in pain and depressed. Her thoughts returned to a personal tragedy. Her son, Daniel Weaver, committed suicide in 2009.

“Sometimes it’s like a spiral down a rabbit hole,” she explained.

Linda Chandler and Gary Harkness (credit: CBS)

Linda said physical therapist Gary Harkness brought her back.

“Gary not only rehabbed my knee, but he rehabbed my heart, my soul, my mind,” said a grateful Linda.

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And she believes she got healthier by making her drive to recovery become stronger than the excuses she used to make. That led to Monday’s surprise!

(credit: CBS)

Linda walked into a physical therapy appointment only to find her medical team, her husband, Keith, Colorado Rockies mascot, Dinger, and more of her fans waiting for her.

“After your surgery, you not only recovered, but you made a complete lifestyle change,” said Bill Smith, Manager of Corporate Partnerships for UCHealth.

(credit: CBS)

UCHealth and the Rockies rewarded the avid sports fan with a trip to spring training.

Linda gets to take Keith and a new, autographed Charlie Blackmon jersey with her. Her physical therapist, Gary, will be there in her heart.

Kathy Walsh

  1. Judy Taylor says:

    What a beautiful story

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