BOSTON (CBS) – Running represents a freedom for marathon bombing survivor Roseann Sdoia that she hasn’t known since she lost her leg in the attack. She started running seven years ago and always knew she wanted to pick up the sport again.
Now, with a road race on the calendar, a special running prosthetic and an inspirational training partner, she’s pushing herself in a way that is both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
She and uber-athlete Jothy Rosenberg, a fellow amputee, meet every Friday morning at the Natick High School track to train for an upcoming 5K road race in Lowell. Rosenberg knows, firsthand, that succeeding at a sport can have a profound effect on recovery. He lost his leg to osteosarcoma at 16. When the cancer spread three years later, doctors had to remove a lung. But that didn’t stop him. He’s an accomplished skier, 12-year Pan Mass Challenge Rider and 20-time swimmer in the Alcatraz swim.
His foundation “Who Says I Can’t” raises money for people who have suffered setbacks and need help getting into a sport. He and Roseann are hoping their run in Lowell will raise enough money to buy a running prosthetic and coaching for another amputee.
And they hope their run sends a message. Sdoia told WBZ’s Lisa Hughes, “I really hope that by doing this we’re able to inspire people with physical challenges that they don’t’ have to give up what they used to do.”
The training is grueling. The day we caught up with them, it was hot and muggy. The mechanics of learning to run with a prosthetic leg are difficult. They watch video tapes of people who’ve perfected it and believe they’ll eventually feel far more fluid than they do now.
And they’ll have their own footage to watch, too. Videographer Steve McCarthy is shooting a documentary that will feature everything from their first meeting in a coffee shop to their falls during training runs.
Rosenberg, who was not a runner until he started training with Sdoia, admits even with the best technology, it’s hard. “We have frustrating days. We’ve fallen. Tears. Sweat. It’s just hard work. Commitment. We’re out here every Friday.”
Ultimately, he’s hoping his foundation will raise enough money to provide a prosthetic every month to an amputee who wants to participate in sports.
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