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Dina, A RA Warrior, is Racing For A Cure!
Runner & Triathlete - coming closer to curing Arthritis with every mile.
Be unrelenting. If you don't believe, then who will? - Kara Goucher
Dina Neils – A RA Warrior’s Story

“You will never run again and you will be in a wheel chair by the time you’re in your mid 20’s.” Not willing to accept that diagnosis, Dina Neils told the doctor that she was wrong and walked out – she was 18.

For 11 years Dina battled RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disease with no cure that causes chronic pain and inflammation affecting joints and organs throughout the body.) RA deteriorated her hips - nothing but bone grinding on bone. Dina has since had two total hip replacements and is literally running, cycling, and swimming herself into remission.

At the age of 18, Dina was an accomplished long distance runner embarking on her first year of collegiate competition. While training for cross country season, RA started in her foot – within weeks chronic pain spread to her toes, knees, hips, hands, elbows and jaw. In a couple of months Dina went from being a healthy athlete to becoming disabled.

Even with an arsenal of the best medical treatment, (daily pain killers, steroids, cortisone, weekly self injections, chemotherapy, and monthly infusions), the nature of the disease seemed never-ending. Over the years no matter how difficult the fight became, Dina never gave up. She didn’t let the disease define who she was or who she wanted to be. Dina was determined to defy the odds – not just for herself, but for others who faced similar challenges.

Dina’s journey back to running has been remarkable – and it has only just begun. In 2012 she completed 5k, 10k and 12k races and in April 2013 she accomplished finishing her first half marathon. This year, she will also be completing 5k and 10k races. Most recently, Dina successfully crossed over into triathlon training – triathlon will help preserve her hip replacements. Before 2013 comes to an end, Dina sets her sights on her first triathlon.

Dina uses her journey as an opportunity to inspire others – she believes that this is her purpose. She is an Arthritis National Research Foundation and Arthritis Foundation advocate, and is also on the Racing For A Cure team, (which helps raise funds to find a cure for arthritis.) In 2014, Dina embarks on a mission greater than herself - completing a number of triathlons and running races to create awareness of the disease and raise donations to assist in finding a cure.

As an infant Dina was adopted out of the foster care system by her loving foster parents. They treated her as their own and gave her the chance at a better life. Her parents continued to foster children in need for over 20 years – providing a safe haven and a nurturing environment. She grew up in Antioch, CA, a small city in the East Bay Area. As an honor student, Dina excelled in the class room with little interest in sports until high school - where she joined the cross country and track team. Junior year, she earned a spot on the varsity team – one of the top ranked teams in the state.

Dina went on to join the cross country team at California State University of Sacramento. In 2007, she graduated with a B.A in Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. Dina currently resides in Elk Grove, CA and trains with the Elk Grove Triathlon Club.

Every day, Dina lives by these words: “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, “because of you I didn’t give up.”


• LAVA Magazine

• Good Day Sacramento


• Charity Miles

• Arthritis National Research Foundation


• FootZone

Recently Completed Races

Summer Breeze - 5k
Women's Triathlon Festival - Sprint Tri
Mermaid Series - 10k

** ** 2014 Race Calendar ** **
Please sponsor any of Dina's upcoming races by making a donation toward Arthritis research!

Shamrock'n Half Marathon - March 16th

ICE Breaker Triathlon - April 5th

Morgan Hill Triathlon - May 18th

Folsom Sprint Triathlon - June 8th OR California Sprint Triathlon - June 28th

Golden State Triathlon - Oct 12th

To sponsor Dina via covering a race entry fee, please email her directly: dina.rawarrior@gmail.com

. : : Make a Contribution : : .

Total Donations: $250.00
Goal: $1,000

$0 25% $1,000

Arthritis National Research Foundation
funds scientists to cure arthritis by discovering the causes of arthritis and its related diseases including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, juvenile arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Searching for a cure to help the estimated 50 million Americans and 300,000 children.

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