Misty Diaz, aka Lil Misty, aka Biggie Smalls, aka the original Pink Turtle Unicorn, has always enjoyed pushing limits.
In early 1991, she would enter in 50 yard, 100 yard dash races, competing in her walker and sometimes crutches. Proving to herself nothing is impossible, while showing others you can do anything! Still hanging in her home are the very ribbons she won, 1st and 2nd place. A vivid reminder how far she has come.
Being born with Myelomeningocele the most serious form of Spina Bifida in 1984, Misty was already fighting. Having multiple operations just three days after being born premature, things were definitely going to be different, she just didn’t know things would be this great.
After a series of 28 operations, her body had become weak. She lost the will to push herself as she did in the early days. Misty knew something had to change, so one day she began to walk from her house to the next block. Then the next day the block after that. She kept a routine and never stopped. Her 5k walk, turned into a 5k run in early 2012 when she signed up for a Ronald McDonald 5K.
Life has really changed for her, once she decided to get rid of old thinking and start fresh. She finally let go of all the labels people gave her and accepted the fact she was born with Spina Bifida, but that wasn’t going to stop her and she can use this as a way to help others.
Misty had so many questions with no real answers and no one to talk to who shared her condition. Now is her chance to be there to help others the way she wished someone would have been there to help her growing up.
Running has allowed Misty to raise awareness that even if you do things differently, you can still accomplish your goals. The biggest reward has been meeting so many kids and adults with Spina Bifida and having them tell her how much she inspires them. The greatest feeling is when she arrives in the airport and sees a little girl holding a sign saying “Welcome Misty”. These are the real rewards!
When she’s not racing, she’s training, mentoring kids with SB, encouraging other adaptive athletes, speaking in schools, or planning her next trip. She would like to race internationally and some day soon she would like to create a 5k Walk/Run to support those who are low income living with Spina Bifida.
Misty’s journey has led her to an important mission of spreading a message that anything is possible. She has begun traveling the country not only to compete, but most importantly to visit the homes of those with Spina Bifida. She enjoys mentoring kids, becoming friends with them and getting them out to see her race!
Misty also understands the importance of having a good support system, so she chats daily with parents around the country who have children with Spina Bifida. She has even been known to convince a few parents to run along side of her, showing their kids anything is possible.