My name is Elliott James. I'm 32 years old. I was born in New Orleans and raised in a small farm community in Oloh, Mississippi. I grew up physically sound. I was a good football player in high school and I was a strong young man. Much of my self confidence rested on my physical strength.
In 2004 I joined the Army and was sent to Iraq. In May of 2005 I was injured in Najaf, Iraq. My right foot was crushed and was not able to be saved. I had become a right below-knee amputee.
After my injury I experienced a few difficult years. I struggled in reconnecting with my family and friends back home. I had a hard time accepting my injury and I began to believe that I would never be as physically active as I was before I lost my leg. After some time passed, I decided to give jogging a try. I had seen other people running with these "running blades" and thought that maybe I could at least give it an effort myself. I requested a running leg from my VA provider and soon, I was learning how to use it.
I started slow, 100 yards here, a quarter mile there; before I knew it, a year had passed and I was jogging 2 miles at a moderate pace. I began getting stronger, not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. I was overcoming my fears and doubts about myself mile by mile.
One day I decided to enter into a 5k race. After running that race, with my community cheering me on, I realized that I had come full circle. I had begun to reconnect with my fellow man. I felt human again.
Today, 4 years later, I have many miles behind me. I will run my second half marathon on January 10, 2015 in Pensacola, Florida. It is called the Pensacola Beach Run. I look forward to running this race to support Amputee Blade Runners and their mission to provide running blades to others.
I want to run this race for the Amputee Blade Runners foundation for a few reasons:
I have seen the price tags on my VA funded running legs. (I could buy a car for the money it costs to fabricate one). I know what it's like to be stuck in a wheelchair or on crutches wishing I could just go out for a run. And I now realize how a running prosthesis can change an amputee's life.
"I'm honored to support such a great charity that is helping others get the equipment they need to become physically active, and ask that you take a moment to do the same."
See you on Race Day!