NewsPositively Colorado


87-year-old Air Force veteran walks for the first time since being paralyzed

Posted at 9:54 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 12:38:11-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — 87-year-old Mark Maloney is the type of person you can't help but root for, according to his family.

“My dad is so optimistic and goal driven. Such a good man, such a great friend, such a great father," said his daughter Melinda Carpenter.

Maloney has always prided himself on living an active lifestyle. He's climbed Mt. Whitney, ran the Pikes Peak Marathon multiple times in his 60s, ran the Marine Core Marathon, and ran the Philidelphia Marathon. One of his favorite places is at Lincoln Mountain, where he has installed a bench saying "REST, ENJOY, APPRECIATE. You made it to this spot, never forget those who cannot"

But in 2020, Maloney's life changed in a way he never thought it would: a biking accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He became a quadriplegic.

Maloney suffered a severe C3 spinal cord injury that threatened his ability to walk ever again. But Maloney did not let that stop him and for the last three years, he has been working to walk again.

On Sunday, Maloney gathered his friends and family to do something he'd been dreaming of: walking a lap across a track at the Air Force Academy.

Maloney did the unthinkable and ended a nightmare as he walked a full lap around the track step-by-step in 12 minutes and 43 seconds.

Maloney said after accomplishing his goal, "Those nightmares are gone, now I just have dreams."

The next step for Maloney is to participate in the Boulder Boulder 10K. “We're hoping that that's the next big adventure, clearly a different experience being there than here, but if anyone can do it, it's Mark," said his caregiver Kimberly Gustafson.


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