Boston bombing victim shares story of perseverance in San Diego, learns to run on new prosthetic

SAN DIEGO - A woman wounded in the Boston Marathon bombings brought her story of survival and perseverance to San Diego.

Heather Abbott lost part of her leg in the second explosion. On Saturday, she joined dozens of other amputees for a mobility camp that teaches challenged athletes how to run on prosthetics.

As runners crossed the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, Abbott was standing just a few feet away outside a restaurant when she heard the first bomb go off.

Before she even had a chance to react, the second explosion went off.

"It actually catapulted me through the front entrance of the restaurant onto the ground and shrapnel had gone through my left foot," said Abbott.

She lost part of her leg as a result and spent months on crutches and in a wheelchair.

"It was a difficult thing to have to go through certainly and there was a lot of pain involved," said Abbott.

On Saturday, she joined dozens of other challenged athletes in San Diego as they learned to run together with the help of their newly-acquired prosthetics thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

"In the case of running feet, a lot of insurance companies don't cover that," said Roy Perkins, who is with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. "They don't consider them to be medically necessary. We disagree obviously. We think if you want to be active, if you want to get the most out of your life, you've got to have the right equipment and that's why we're happy to provide it."

Abbott has only been on her new leg since Oct. 5, but she definitely was not alone Saturday in learning how use it, especially with someone like Sarah Reinertsen by her side.

"I'm the first woman on a prosthetic leg to do the Hawaii Ironman. I'm a nine-time marathon finisher. I've been an amputee since I was 7 years old," said Reinertsen.

Reinertsen says mobility camps like the one held at the Jewish Community Center in La Jolla are crucial in helping amputees of all ages get back on their feet and active again.

Abbott says it is a slow process, but she is definitely getting there.

"It's great to have the running leg and everything but it's not the same, so getting used to doing it this new way is a little bit of a challenge," she said.

Abbott says the day after she received her new prosthetic leg, she ran on it in Boston for the first time, for about an hour.

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