Monday, January 13, 2014

Blades give brothers ability to run

Check out this inspiring story of two boys learning to run for the first time. 
From my experienced perspective, I see mental or emotional burnout in long time runners. And, conversely, I see fear in runners that are just starting out. Both states can lead to less running, less exercise in general, and a perpetuation of an unfit lifestyle. 
Runners: Sometimes, if not most of the time, forget all your specific running goals (the split times, the specific workouts, the quantities of time or distance you feel you HAVE to get). Reach for nothing more than the joy you feel when running, like these boys do. You'll be better for it.  
All credit for the story goes to WLFI and it's sister TV station. Story and video link is HERE
LIGONIER, Ind. (WANE) - LIGONIER, Ind. - Two young boys from Ligonier who could barely walk less than a year ago now have their eyes set on the Olympics.
Zac and Zeb Pfenning are both eight-year-old amputees. Before last April, running was a difficult task.
"I knew he wanted to run, and he loves soccer, he's amazing at soccer, but he couldn't," said their mother, Lisa Pfenning. "He couldn't keep up."
In 2005, Lisa and her husband decided to adopt after not being able to have their own. They first got Zoe, 9, from China. A few years later, they thought Zoe needed a sibling. They told the adoption agency they'd be willing to adopt handicap children, but Lisa said she didn't think she'd be able to handle an amputee.
They let then two-year-old Zoe choose her baby brother. She chose Zeb, who had a missing foot.
The very next year, the Pfennings got word of a child who was about to be removed from the adoption list in China, and they decided to act. They went through the process of adopting Zac who had a rare form of spina bifida and both legs joined at one foot.
The boys swam and played soccer, but it was a painful process.
"Blowing out knees, trying to get his prosthetic leg to do what he wanted to do," Lisa said.
Lisa found Amputee Blade Runners (ABR), an organization that makes lighter and more flexible prosthetics. She applied for a grant for Zac who couldn't run at all. She didn't think they'd make one small enough for Zeb who only had a missing foot. However, to her surprise, they gave her two.
"It was so exciting to see my baby run....I was so excited that they want to be in the Olympics," Lisa said.
Now, the two are just as active as other kids their age. ABR allows their patients to re-apply for a new blade every two years.
They are home-schooled which makes it easier for the boys to make their weekly trips to Fort Wayne for therapy, and with their new legs, the two were even able to run their first 5k at the Color Me Rad run in August.
"It was actually fun running, and other people giving me high fives," Zac said.

The Pfenning's are in the process of adopting a girl from China, Zephira, 4,  who has some of the same disabilities that Zac has. They're hoping to bring her home in February.

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