I learned I had bone cancer when I was 18 years old. After the tumor on my tibia was removed I had an internal prosthetic put in. At the time I was an excellent baseball and football player with college opportunities on the horizon. All of that ended when I lost most of my knee, tibia and femur. I was able to keep my leg but I was told I would never run again.
Over the next 23 years my implant knee broke 7 times. Twice it was infected and threatened to take my life. I tried to stay active doing what I could but my leg was too fragile. I had 3 young kids and instead of doing more with them, I was doing less each year. On July 4, 2012 my leg broke for the 8th time. With the risks involved in future surgeries and the advancement in prosthetics, I chose to have my right leg amputated above my knee.
At this point I felt I had lost everything but I knew inside I was going to put in the work to do more than I had ever done before. When I came out of the operating room I was already thinking about competing in my first triathlon. That was just going to be the beginning. A year from losing my leg I crossed the finish line at the Linwood Triathlon in Vermilion, Ohio. At that point I knew I was capable of more and I set my sites on something bigger.
Above anything I just wanted to run again. I wanted to show my three kids that I could do it. When I learned that only 10% of 21 million people with disabilities participated in any kind of physical activity, I wanted to help them too. On April 13, 2015 I was able to run again for the first time in 25 years. It was a huge hurdle that I would never have accomplished without the incredible people behind ABR. Just three weeks later I ran in my first 5K with my kids by my side. During the summer of 2016 I was able to return to the ball field again and play softball with other able bodied adults. It has been a dream come true. Thank you ABR from the bottom of my heart!