Entering her freshman year of high school, Macey Jermier knew she was going to run for DCG Cross Country.
“I was excited to be part of a sport where your hard work determined how good you were,” she said.
It didn’t take long for Macey to fall in love with her teammates and the sport.
“We always joked that the second the workout was over you forget how hard it was and you are ready to do it again.”
Wearing the Mustang red gave Macey all the motivation she needed.
“Everyone is there for each other, it’s the best sport I’ve ever been a part of.”
After an awesome first year at DCG, Macey began preparing for a much anticipated sophomore season. Those plans quickly changed during a warm day in July.
“We were going up a very gradual hill, a road I’d never been on before,” she says. “At the top of the hill, there was a sharp downhill and then a highway. I had to slam on the brakes. My friend and I tipped it and we went into a ditch, the vehicle landed on my leg.”
At that moment, things changed.
“The bone pierced through the skin. My best friend took her shirt off and mine, and tied a tourniquet around my leg. It saved my life. For that, I will be eternally grateful.”
The immediate reaction saved her life, but her battle was only beginning.
“It felt like no one was talking to me,” Macey says. “No one was explaining what was going on. They were talking to my mom about amputating and I was like hold on, that’s when it became real to me.”
Macey needed to be lifeflighted to a hospital in Des Moines so the amputation decision could be made.
“By miracle, there was a vascular surgeon flying in from New York to do a different procedure,” Jermier says. “She came in for emergency surgery and she was able to get the bones back together and repair the arteries. It took multiple hours but she was ultimately able to save my leg.”
The emergency surgery was successful and Macey’s road to recovery was underway.
“The hardest part was learning to stand again, knowing at any moment it could give out.”
Slowly but surely Macey was making progress, with DCG Cross Country in the back of her mind every step of the way.
“We tried multiple times and it was a very ugly run. Eventually after a lot of setbacks and bone infections, I was able to run in the PT office. It was the best day ever.”
Hard work and all kinds of determination had Macey back on her feet. But there was the realization that she wasn’t the same runner she was her freshman year.
“I think my next milestone was accepting it is what it is, I’m not going to be as fast as I was freshman year.”
Macey’s role on the DCG Cross Country team was changing. But her drive to compete was still alive. After missing most of her sophomore and junior years, there became one central goal for Macey Jermier, finish a cross country race her senior year.
“I needed to get the courage to do it.”
So here we go. October 5. Fort Dodge, Iowa. Macey Jermier was on the starting line.
“It was just deciding for myself that I would rather go out trying rather than sitting on the sidelines feeling sorry for myself. That was just not the way I wanted to end my season.”
Sports tend to give us these incredible moments. The get up from your seat and cheer kind of moments. On that fall October day, Macey Jermier ran across the finish line in Fort Dodge, signaling victory after one of life’s toughest tests.
“The only word that comes to mind is grateful. I was thinking about my family and my mom. She sat by my side through every part of this process. I was thinking about my grandma who drove all the way there to support me. I was thinking about my coaches and my teammates. It was the best moment.”
Laying on the operating room table two and a half years ago Macey says she knew her Mustang career wasn’t done. Now she has the proof. Crossing the finish line after a race most said she’d never be able to start.
“It all came to a positive end. It made me feel like whatever I set my mind to, I’ll be able to accomplish.”