Daryl Farler wears shorts to work. Even in the dead of winter.
“When I walk into a room, patients know, ‘this guy is an amputee,’” he said. “It’s sort of a calming effect, they think if this guy can do it, I can do it.”
Daryl works at the Surgical Clinic in Nashville as the Director of Prosthetics. He works with patients to get them ready to come in and receive their prosthetics, then if they’re up for it, their running blades.
“I felt like I needed to give back,” he said. “After I had emotionally gotten over the loss of my limbs, I had this desire to go and work and help other amputees overcome what they’re doing.”
It has been ten years since Daryl had his legs amputated. But, it’s only been in the last 5 that he got his job at the Surgical Clinic, agreed to be on the board of the Amputee Blade Runners, began running, became a marathon finisher and a three-time Ragnarian. To get to this point, he had to cope with the emotional setbacks of becoming an amputee.
“It’s extremely scary,” he said. “I knew for a month and a half that I had to have an amputation but I recall waking up and thinking ‘holy crap, what am I going to do?’”
Daryl was scratched in his eye by his girlfriend’s puppy. It allowed a bug to enter in through his tear duct. Within two days, he was in a coma fighting for his life because with beta-hemolytic strep. He was in a coma for two weeks. During the coma, he couldn’t get blood flow to his extremities. He had both his legs amputated below the knee and portions of each of his fingers. He began the long road of recovery, both physically and emotionally.
“You have to hit rock bottom first,” he said. “That moment was when I punched a hole in the wall at my house. I realized I needed help. Five years after surgery is when everything started to come around. Then about four or five months later I was starting to run.”
Now, he’ll run for the second year on the all-amputee team, Team Run Free, at Reebok Ragnar Tennessee. It will be his fourth Ragnar.
“If I could do it every year I would and I’ll do it until my legs decide they don’t want to do it anymore,” he said. “The fundamental idea of just getting up to go run, I can do because I have some cool products and why not do it? Why not show the world that it doesn’t matter your issues, it doesn’t matter your problems, you can get up and do anything that you ultimately want to do?”
He admits that the situation sucks sometimes, but he learns how to cope.
“I wouldn’t change it for anything because ultimately, I live such a rewarding, fulfilling life now,” Daryl said. “I have purpose. I am extremely different from most people out there, which I enjoy and I wear and I’m proud of it. It sucks to be an amputee, but not really. It is what you make of it, like anything life.”
And, the girlfriend who’s puppy it was who scratched him, is now his wife.
“The coolest thing about it is all this happened to me, is my Girlfriend, the day after I woke up from my coma, I proposed to her,” he said. “She’s now been my wife for ten years. We have two beautiful children. It’s a great love story.”
Read more about the members of Team Run Free and their journey to the start line here and follow them through the race using #NoFeetNoExcuses. Plus, donate to their cause to give more people the gift of running here.