BOSTON (CBS) – As a football player for MIT, Riley Quinn has made some incredible interceptions. But, the first is one he’ll never forget.
“I think the coaches and players were a little surprised. They were like, ‘Look, if this kid has one hand and can catch a football, we should be able to figure this out.’ I think it was a little source of inspiration,” said Quinn.
Riley has always inspired those around him. He was born without a left hand, but he has never let that limit him. Not in baseball, basketball, football or life.
“I like to think I live my life and don’t really let anyone else define what I can and cannot do,” said Quinn.
He has that same mindset now as he gets ready to run the Boston Marathon with team “Limb-It-Less,” raising money for the Heather Abbott Foundation.
“I was really excited to have him on our team,” said Abbott. “He just embodied our motto which is ‘Live. Your. Life.’ He was obviously born with circumstances that could have limited him a lot if he let them and he didn’t.”
Heather started her foundation the year after the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I was impacted by the second explosion,” said Abbott. “I remember feeling as though my leg was on fire. I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t get up and run like everyone else was doing.”
As Abbott recovered from having part of her left leg amputated, she quickly realized that learning to walk again wouldn’t be the only challenge.
“A lot of times insurance won’t cover some of the more advanced prostheses that are cosmetic or used for athletics, like running,” said Abbott. “Amputees are faced with a large bill to pay for them or being limited and not being able to do the activities they want to do.”
Through One Fund Boston and other charitable donations, Abbott has been able to get customized prosthetic devices. Her favorite is the one that allows her to wear high heels again.
“I think it gave me the feeling that I don’t have to give up everything. That was important to me in my life and also my privacy without people seeing it all the time,” she said.
Now, Abbott has made it her mission to raise money so other amputees can also have access to customized prosthetic devices which can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
“It’s a way to pay it forward and to make sense of something senseless,” she said.
So far her foundation has helped 30 people who have lost limbs due to traumatic circumstances and the goal is to help many, many more.
“Just knowing I’m raising money for a cause that matters so much to me and will impact the lives of others – it’s that extra push where it makes me try a little harder and get through those last couple miles when my legs are dragging and heavy and having that motivating force to keep going forward,” said Quinn.
To donate, visit Riley Quinn’s fundraising page.