Amelia Furlong, 11, of Hamilton, has a rare benign tumor that has rendered her foot and leg partially paralyzed. She’s been traveling back and forth to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment and underwent a tendon transfer surgery last year.
Amelia wears a brace and was still recovering when she decided she wanted to try Girls on the Run.
“I was nervous,” said mother Sara Furlong. “But I didn’t want to discourage her from joining a potentially empowering program.”
Amelia injured her recovering leg badly during the first day during warmups.
“She dislocated her knee and broke off a large part of the cartilage and bone, making it impossible to straighten her leg,” Sara Furlong said. “She ended up needing another surgery and will be on crutches and in physical therapy for a long time.”
But Amelia decided to continue hanging out with the Girls on the Run program participants and Coach Meg Rose; she started doing laps with the girls on her crutches.
On Thursday, May 27, 2021, Amelia completed the GOTR 5K on crutches, with a bunch of the other girls by her side and cheering her on. See video HERE.
“Amelia has shown incredible spirit throughout the last few years, throughout her treatment and physical struggles,” Sara Furlong said. “I was especially moved to see her cover more than three miles on crutches on uneven ground. And I thought it was a major victory for the other girls, also, because they supported her and rallied around her.
“I was crying and hugging girls I didn’t even know, I was so proud of them all. It was a team victory and really captured the essence of what Girls on the Run is about.”