Helz Belles Skater, Laura Parvey-Connors, Reclaiming Her Life - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Helz Belles Skater, Laura Parvey-Connors, Reclaiming Her Life

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At age 21 Laura Parvey-Connors was diagnosed with acromegaly, which caused a golf ball sized tumor in her pituitary gland.

"You never really expect to be sick when you're in your 20's," said Laura. "You don't feel like a healthy person. Just being able to wake up and have energy, it's really draining."

But after two neurosurgeries, and years of radiation and treatment, Laura found herself in remission. Not only that, she got married and had kids. But that wasn't all, she now wanted to get her strength back.

"In my 30's I started running, and started competing in half marathons," said Laura. "But running is a really lonely sport. That was the cool thing about roller derby: it's a team sport."

Laura has been a member of Helz Belles for a over a year and a half now, and can honestly say it's changed her life.

"It's pretty nerve wracking right before the bout begins, but once you get a couple of the jams in you forget about the crowd, you forget about the loud music, and you're just playing derby at that point," said Laura. "And it's a huge confidence builder of 'Wow I've come this far.'"

"She's incredibly strong," said fellow Helz Belles skater Kari "Staggering Fox" Staggs. "She has amazing endurance. When she gets knocked down she pops right back up."

That seems to be a trend for Laura, popping back up. When she was sick, she popped back up. When she was first learning roller derby, she popped back up. And she's become an inspiration for teammates.

"She's a powerhouse on the team, and to know that she's come from a position of weakness to gain so much strength is really inspiring," said Helz Belles skater Ada "Ada-Control" Montague.

"I sometimes think about how far I have come from that point in my life," said Laura. "I never imagined myself doing roller derby, or doing half marathons when I was really sick. And it's really empowering."

Laura feels she's in the best shape of her life. From a life threatening disease, to having a family, and teammates that support her. But I wasn't done with her yet.

As one final test to Laura's strength, to see if she's got all of it back, she's got to knock me out of this octagon. We'll see how long this takes.

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