www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/carroll/westminster/ph-ce-wagner-chamber-1208-20131206,0,4876840.story

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McDaniel grad to address Chamber of Commerce on overcoming challenges

By Blair Ames, bames@tribune.com

8:51 AM EST, December 6, 2013

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Greg Wagner can't remember how his body felt before he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm as a 3-year-old.

He has overcome its effects, including limited mobility on his right side, to play baseball and finish five marathons.

"The way I see it is, disabilities are individual limitations that we each have to overcome," said Wagner, who graduated from McDaniel College in 2007.

Now 28, the Silver Spring resident shares his story as a motivational speaker and through a book he'll soon be sending to publishers.

He will be speaking at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce's December luncheon Friday, Dec. 13 at the Portico of St. John in Westminster.

The Chamber invited Wagner to speak because he "just exudes courage," said Chamber President Mike McMillan, who met Wagner at an event in May.

"The courage that he shows is a great example that the business community can learn from in overcoming obstacles that they face either in the workplace or their own personal life," McMillan said.

Wagner's brain aneurysm left him with a constant "tingle" on his right side, delayed muscle response, and no peripheral vision in his right eye, he said.

Despite those limitations, Wagner is now training to qualify in the discus, shot put or triathlon at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"Twenty five years after surgery, no one besides doctors and really well qualified personal trainers can see my disability," he said.

Wagner attended McDaniel College to try out for the baseball team, but never played an inning in two seasons. He believes it was due to his disability.

Wagner, who emulated his pitching technique after one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott, was undeterred by his McDaniel experience and sent a training video to all 30 Major League Baseball teams.

He was contacted by four, though none ever came to watch him pitch.

From baseball, Wagner moved on to marathon training, in part due to a challenge from a friend to complete a 26-mile race.

In 2007, Wagner ran his first marathon in Baltimore, finishing in 3 hours and 46 minutes. He had qualified for the Boston Marathon in.

In April 2008, he ran in the Boston Marathon and had the best finish in the mobility impaired division.

But running regularly was difficult, since the left side of his body overcompensated for his right side, often leading to injuries.

He went back to his throwing roots, teaching himself the discus and shot put, while also pursuing the triathlon.

Now a federal contractor with the State Department, he has written a book, "Unwavering Light," which details each year of his life since the brain aneurysm.

He plans to begin shopping the completed manuscript to publishers early next year.

"My whole idea for the book was I wanted to take everybody on journey of what I lived through," he said.

Those interested in attending the chamber luncheon should call Peggy Soper at 410-848-9050 to register.