Who Says I Can't Kelly Bruno (part I)

Uploaded by WSICTV on 17.07.2012

Our next athlete is someone who wasn't injured or became sick; she has a birth defect
Her name is Kelly Bruno. And her story is about growing up different but having
goals and dreams like other children and how she made them a reality
It is also a story about the challenges of being a parent of a child born with a
Filming this segment was particularly challenging for me because I had to do
something I hadn't done since I was two legged almost forty years ago: run!
Who says I can't
Kelly Bruno is twenty seven years old and boy can she run
Kelly has set world records for amputees in the 200 meter and 800
meter distances
She can also swim and bike and has won gold in triathlons. And this athlete has brains as
well as power and beauty
She's a medical student at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Kelley's father Richard Bruno
was a doctor in the US foreign service for more than twenty years.
He had a very small group of patients. He saw all the
diplomats in the community. You know and I think he really enjoyed that and I
kind of liked...
just like he knew
all his patients
And that's the kind of medicine that I grew up knowing.
Kelly's mom Jane Bruno says Kelly was conceived right before the family went
on their first overseas assignment with the State Department
to Lagos Nigeria
Her mom returned to the US to give birth
I had had a yellow fever vaccine
prior to going over to Lagos
and it turns out that that can interfere with the development of the fetus. She
had only three toes uh... and really not very much of a heel on her
right leg. Kelly says she remembers knowing she was different as a young child
Growing up Catholic she prayed for something every night before she went to
bed. I prayed for
one thing in particular when I was little
I prayed very very hard that my leg would grow back
She grew up with an older sister
My sister had two legs
You know so she was the one I looked up to because she was two years older than me.
Lauren is Kelly's older sister
I think I just looked out
because other people would stare and
look at her funny and you know make fun of her and stuff like that so it was more of
a "don't don't mess with my little sister she's ok leave her alone"
Most older sisters will
pick on you and beat you up once in a while Was she that way or did she like take
extra care not to do that with you?
I think she was a little afraid of my leg. It kind of weirded her out a little bit
But other than that I mean she picked on me as much as any older sister does
She was not the type…she would never steal it or hide it or do you know do anything. My dad
on the other hand was not the same
He would hide it. He was a jokester.
He would hide it or stick things in it.
Kelly's father helped her do something very important for a kid:
ride a bike!
With the bike he devised a way of just strapping her
foot onto the pedal
Lauren remembers a special bond between Kelly and her father
All he wanted was a boy to play football with and
a boy to play baseball with
So I was a
lost cause. I throw like a girl and I will always throw like a girl. So Kelly was
his next
person to work on when she was old enough
and he got her right in there and he was like all right
I'm going to have an athlete in the family
and she just took to it
But growing up there were some very hard moments for Kelly
It started in like Middle School
And boys would be making fun of her and say you have one leg what's wrong with you
And I remember she would just come home crying
and my parents and I wouldn't even know what to say Her mom remembers after one particularly
difficult surgery--and there were seven of them--
when she picked Kelly up from school on a rainy day
She says "my leg hurts so bad," it turns out she had fallen she said and nobody
stopped to help her
and it was just devastating; it ended up that the leg had fractured again and she
had to have another surgery. Once she heal from that surgery
she was ready to prove herself
She tried out for the middle school basketball team
and got on it
and started playing basketball. She thrived in it
cause she had my dad's attention
and the better she was, sort of, the more attention she got from him. In High
School Kelly shifted to running and that's when her athletic career really
took off
and it's when Kelly really accepted who she was
I'm going to show
myself and the world that I can do anything
that anybody else can do. And Kelly did show the world
She began racing in international paralympic events
As an undergrad at Duke she started competing in triathlons and then
entered medical school at the University of North Carolina
In January 2010
Kelly suffered a huge loss
Her father, doctor Richard Bruno,
was taking students to Haiti on a volunteer mission when he was killed in
the devastating earthquake
That's who she would talk to when she ever said
oh my knee's bothering me or, you know, should I do this race
my dad was the person that she will go to
so I think for her
she's taking it in a way that made her stronger and I think that's why
she's been doing the iron men she's been doing med school she's really into the other
parts of her life she just got
even more passionate about because she lost our dad
Around the time her dad died
Kelly was picked to be a contestant on the TV program Survivor
She wore a cosmetic prosthesis when she first joined the cast in Nicaragua
I wore that leg for five days with open-toed sandals and no one knew
I didn't want anyone to make a judgment about me before they saw what I could do
so I didn't want anyone to know I was an amputee before the game started
I didn't really believe her when she first said it. I was like, seriously, that TV show?
And then I was like, can she do this?
I was a little bit surprised but you know I think it
does reflect Kelly's personality. She was accepted she wasn't about to turn
down a challenge like that. Duh! Of course she can figure it out. She'll figure it out
and she'll make it work
And then we were worried these other people are gonna be stronger than you. I'm like no but
actually she's stronger than ninety nine percent of those people anyway and once she got
into it she really got into it That part of Kelly's personality is something
I understand well. It's Who Says I Can't
So when we spoke with Kelly about doing this show
and she said she wanted me to compete with her in a triathlon I agreed
even though I hadn't run in thirty-eight years