I was always an athletic kid growing up in Ohio. I ran track in high school and continued running as an adult. In 2012, I ran my first triathlon then my first marathon. In 2014, I was hit by a car while on my motorcycle. My right arm and left leg were pretty mangled. Several weeks and many surgeries later, when I was emotionally ready to escape my hospital bed, my doctors were discussing cutting into my good leg and bolting my legs together for a few more weeks while my prognosis was only that I “should” be able to bear weight on my foot after about 12 months of recovery. Therefore, I chose to amputate my left leg below the knee and hope for a faster recovery with a prosthesis.
I received a prosthetic walking foot and started jogging slowly and awkwardly in 2015-2016, but I was determined to keep going! I found Amputee Blade Runners on Facebook and early in 2017, and I volunteered to be on their running team to conquer a 200 mile relay race. Covering that distance with 12 other leg amputees was incredibly inspiring! My teammates encouraged me to apply for a grant through ABR because they knew that my walking prosthesis was far inferior to a running blade that ABR could provide. I applied and was accepted into the ABR family. I received a new blade and it couldn’t have been more perfect! Aaron Fitzsimmons and his team in Nashville provided an amazing experience for a week that I’ll never forget.
My running has greatly improved since receiving my new custom-fit running gear. ABR was extremely generous with everything they offered me! I had no idea what I was missing until I tried my new blade! This experience showed me that someone believed in my abilities and it has inspired me to keep pushing my limits. I’m now training for an ultra-triathlon in Europe! This is ironic because in October of 2015, I still thought that I might never be able to competitively run a mere 5K. ABR changed my life!