I was sitting the waiting area of Rapid Diesel when I first learned who Amy Palmeiro-Winters was while waiting for our Dodge pickup to get cleared for take off so I could go home.
I had just started taking up running again and was flipping through the pages of the May 2007 (p. 22) issue of Runner’s World magazine to stave off my impatience when I came across an article featuring Amy regarding her below-the-knee amputee status. She had crushed her foot in a motorcycle accident in 1994 and eventually had part of her leg amputated but held the marathon record for female below-the-knee amputees (her time was 3:04).
It was the quote by Amy at the beginning of the article that caught my attention. After a surgery she told a friend in response to being asked how she was doing she said, “Compared with the problems some people have, this is like a hangnail.” I found that single quote to be very thought-provoking and it has since stuck with me regarding my own personal challenges. And let’s be honest, we all have them at some point in our lives. I’ve since adopted her words as one of my mantras for my kids, spouse, and especially myself, since there are times I tend to put my worries into overdrive.
Her attitude toward life was reflected in the article and made me like her instantly but I also liked the other aspects of what I learned about her life. She is a mother with two kids like me, but what really made her my kind of gal was learning that she’s a welder by trade—a woman like me who’s not afraid to tackle a job typically held by men. Amy’s a woman I can relate to.
Instead of accepting being told her crushed foot would end her days as a runner, she dismissed the doctor’s prediction of her future and instead it just gave her a foothold in proving her stubbornness; a trait I’m also famous for I’m told. Amy’s attitude about how she dealt with what happened to her is the kind of trait I admire in a woman but that I possess as well. I don’t let anything hinder me from what I want to do or what I want to prove to myself or anyone else. Determination is a key element in my genetic makeup and Amy’s efforts to run just out of spite is something I can see myself doing also. She mentioned in her blog something that I always keep in mind regardless of the setbacks or hardships I face, and that is that there’s always something we can learn from those situations. I’ve fervently believed that no matter how bad things get, there’s always something positive to come from it, even if it’s just learning something.
She also volunteers her time with children who have limb loss and works with ASPIRE, a New York based nonprofit organization for kids with limb loss. She gives kids the confidence to believe in themselves that they have the ability to achieve whatever they want to do in life and encourages them to become active through sports and other activities.
Amy continues to rack up awards and features as well as the miles she runs and examples she sets for others that the only limits are those we set upon ourselves. This is the reason why Amy Palmiero-Winters is on my list of women I admire (but she’s also great because her name is Amy!)
I wasn’t able to find a link to the actual article that I discovered Amy in, but found this feature on her in this issue of Runner’s World.