Five years ago, doctors told 36-year-old Allyson Loisel Murray she only had a week to live. Thankfully, they were wrong, and she's covered a lot more distance than time since.
On Thursday, Loisel Murray finished a cross-country run from Galveston, Texas, to Chanhassen, Minn. She started the run on April 22.
"I went Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kansas to Missouri, up through Missouri to Iowa and Iowa to Minnesota," smiled Loisel Murray.
It was more than just a journey. It's also an incredible feat considering all she's experienced over the past five years.
"I was rear ended on 94 east, and the guy was going more than highway speed, which -- at the time -- was 75 miles an hour," recalled Loisel Murray. "He didn't brake. He just went right through my car."
The crash in 2008 caused major damage to her carotid artery -- a major artery that supplies blood to the head and neck. Making the situation even more dire was the fact that Loisel Murray was born with just one carotid artery instead of the usual two.
As a result of the crash, Loisel Murray suffered a stroke and three traumatic brain injuries.
"The whiplash actually probably created the traumatic brain injuries, and possibly the capillary stroke and the traumatic brain injury in the frontal portion of my brain," she explained.
After a stent replacement surgery in October 2008, she took a year off to heal -- but the avid runner revived her passion and is now a source of inspiration.
"My doctor had said to me, ‘I really want to see you run again,'" she recalled.
Just before the crash, Loisel Murray was preparing to try out for the Boston Marathon. After her recovery, she slowly started running again. Between runs, she'd visit her doctor.
"I did a 5K and handed him my medal and he said, ‘Not good enough.' So I said 'fine' and did a 10K. Handed him my medal and he said, ‘Nah, not good enough,'" she remembered. "Then I had a half-marathon medal, and he still wasn't satisfied."
So, she set out on a cross-country mission. Loisel Murray took on most of the costs for the $25,000 run, paying for everything but clothes and water, which were sponsored. She even bought a $12,000 RV with the support of her husband, David, who drove along one mile at a time.
Loisel Murray's made it her mission to use the run as a means of raising awareness and empowering other stroke and brain injury survivors.
"I would like to be the go-to girl for traumatic brain injury, stroke and carotid artery dissection. That would be great," Loisel Murray said.
She hopes to someday run the Greenland Marathon, but before she starts another run, Allyson says she'd need some support from sponsors.
To learn more about Loisel Murray, visit her website at www.allysmission.com.