By Ben Becker - email
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLX) - A Florida man, who suffered a setback that would cripple most of us, isn't letting it slow him down. He lost a leg, but found a life's mission.
"I've ran the Boston Marathon about 13 to 14 times," said Bill Hansbury. "I've been in about 50 marathons over the years."
Boston Bill has always been an athlete, but, a few years ago, he came to a fork in the road. A terrible infection meant amputation, but Bill decided to keep competing. "The best thing you can do is to claim your right again to get back into action and get going again. You have to do it, if you don't do it, you don't move," he said.
Now, Boston Bill cannot stop moving. Every morning, he cycles, and in the afternoon, he runs. However, that freedom doesn't come cheap. "A leg, like I'm wearing right now, is about $6,000 or $7,000."
But, for a running leg, that'll cost closer to $10,000. For those who have an above the knee amputation and wear a sea leg, they'll pay anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 for a leg.
That's why Hansbury started the Boston Bill Foundation. "The money I raise with that has gone to provide limbs for people who do not have the money to do it."
To date, the foundation has contributed more than $80,000 to individuals who have undergone the physical and mental stress of amputation and fitment of lower extremity prosthetics.
One of those people was Brian Evensen. He had a bad fall which led to a major infection. "They told me that they'd have to take it below the knee," Evensen recalled. "I was quite upset about it, but I didn't want to die either."
After surgery, Brian sat in a wheelchair. Then, someone shared Evensen's story with Hansbury. "Bill says, 'If you're the kind of person that will get up and go', he said, ''I'll get ya a leg.'"
Now, Brian can walk, swim and get back to the life he lived before surgery.
As for Boston Bill, he's working on another athletic achievement. "I plan to run the Boston Marathon again -- not for any particular speed -- but it's something I want to do for myself," he said.
"I'd like to see him win it," said Evensen. "I hope in my 70s, I'm in the condition Bill is in because that is an inspiration to everyone."
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