KEARNEY — Dr. Sami Stokes knows exactly where she wants to be early Monday morning, April 20, 2020 — at the starting line of the Boston Marathon.
The lifelong Kearney resident doesn’t expect to win a trophy, but her running is still remarkable. Active in track and cross country at Kearney High School and then William Woods University in Fulton, much of her career was plagued by injuries.
“I never ran to my full potential because of injuries,” she said. “It was very frustrating.”
But the problems had a silver lining. Assessing her track and field career, she decided to focus on academics and graduated from the university in only three years with a degree in exercise science. She also discovered that the one thing that helped her injuries was the chiropractic practices used by Dr. Phillip Chapman of Liberty.
“I decided that I wanted to help people the way it helped me,” she said. “Sharing that gift seemed like something that would really be rewarding.”
And it has been rewarding. Stokes pursued another intense academic path and rapidly earned her degree from the Cleveland School of Chiropractic by completing the 10-trimester program. She returned to her hometown to begin work two years ago, and in early 2019 established her own business, Adjusted for Life Family Chiropractic.
Approaching its first anniversary, her practice has flourished with services that include chiropractic and also school sports physicals, pregnancy and nutrition services. That diversity attracts equally unique patients, something she really appreciates.
“I think what I like most is the sheer variety,” she said. “One minute I’m treating an athlete, and the next it’s a mom with a baby. Then the next is an older person.”
What her patients often have in common is regaining something they had lost.
“I get to see people able to do things they had given up on,” she said. “I can restore their mobility. That really makes my day.”
Outside of work, Stokes is married to her high school sweetheart, Paul, who also ran in school.
“Yes, I married my high school sweetheart,” she said with a laugh.
The two enjoy traveling and playing with their dog, Myka, who inherited her name from the Greek island Mykonos following a visit several years ago.
Sami obviously finds time to run, which was why she found herself in the Kansas City Marathon last fall. Although it was her first 26.2-mile run ever, her time was four minutes faster than needed to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon. She admits to mostly running for the sheer enjoyment, but plans to increase her training in January, including entry into the Liberty Hospital Half Marathon in March.
All of this keeps the doctor busy, although she also finds time to volunteer each week for the children’s ministry at her church. She also notes that much of her work is not “work” in the typical sense.
“It’s really cool to help someone who has challenges that are different than yours,” she said. “To help someone do something they thought they had lost is really great.”