By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published May 27, 2010
As founder of the No Time For Pain 5K, an inaugural road race scheduled for Sunday, June 13, St. Anthony of Padua parishioner Kenya Turner, 33, is taking endometriosis head on in an effort to bring attention to this disease—she was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis in 2008. The Georgia Bulletin recently talked with Turner via e-mail about the upcoming event.
Georgia Bulletin: What is endometriosis, and how common is it among women in the United States?
Turner: Endometriosis is a painful, gynecological disease that affects at least 5 million women and girls in the U.S. Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrium (the lining inside the uterus) grows outside the uterus where it is not supposed to grow, usually implanting itself in the pelvic region causing swelling and inflammation. … Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis. The most effective thing a woman can do is to find a specialist who treats the disease.
GB: How has your faith shaped your response and ability to deal with the disease?
Turner: I have always been a believer in the power of prayer. When I was a young child, my parents Deacon James and Annette Mandley-Turner laid the foundation for my faith through my domestic church experience. They taught me how important it was for me to communicate with God in good times and in times of uncertainty. I was told that God had the answer for all of life’s challenges and that he would never forsake me. As my pain increased and intensified, my conversation with Jesus seemed to occur more frequently. It also became clear to me that God puts those in your life that you need the most when you are at your worst. Finding the best care was like finding a needle in a haystack, but I kept pressing on. I have no doubt that God is in control and that there is no reason for me to lose my faith. God has been with me as long as I can remember.
GB: I read that you completed two half-marathons and cycled 100 miles. What are some of your other athletic feats and passions?
Turner: I completed a triathlon shortly after moving to Atlanta in 2007. I am in the process of training for a triathlon that takes place late this summer.
GB: Did you participate in athletics at the high school and collegiate level?
Turner: I grew up swimming because we had an in-ground pool growing up and a great deal of my time, as well as my brother’s, was spent in the pool (four to six times a week, seven days a week when weather permitted). The closest thing to athletics in school was the Agape coordinator in my senior year of high school at Sacred Heart Academy, Louisville, Ky. There were times when I would run down the hall to get ready to say the morning prayers over the intercom before school started. As for college, I played lacrosse at Trinity University, Washington, D.C., and simply loved it. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I wanted to increase my fitness level, and that began my passion for running and cycling.
GB: What inspired you to do the race?
Turner: I have been blessed, and there’s no doubt my surgeon’s hands were blessed by God too. You don’t find many surgeons who will sit down with you and your family, hold your hand and pray with you and your family before your surgery. It was this experience and while recovering at my parents’ home in Louisville that I began planning the race. When you’ve been blessed, it is hard to sit still.
GB: Where will the race take place?
Turner: The race will take place in Sandy Springs. It will begin at 224 Johnson Ferry Road in front of the Fleet Feet Sports. … A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Endometriosis Research Center (in Delray, Fla.), which is a nonprofit dedicated to education, research and patient advocacy.