Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00
Members of the Pacers Club at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville invited an amazing athlete to visit and speak with them on one of the Fridays that they meet after school. The girls were thrilled that she, Amy Palmiero-Winters, not only visited with them on Oct. 14, but that she also ran with them for two miles as they conditioned for a 5K run in November.
Amy is not just your average-but-gifted tri-athlete. She is also the first athlete with a physical disability to qualify for a US National track and field team. By finishing in first place at the Run to the Future 24-Hour Race in Arizona last year, ahead of all male and female racers, she qualified for Team USA at the 24-Hour 2010 World Championship Run in France. She is also the winner of the 2010 AAU Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete, the winner of the 2010 Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY Award and the mother of two children.
Besides running, Amy explained to the girls that she strives to help children who have lost limbs have the strength, courage and support to meet their challenges and succeed. She added that she hoped more people would understand that “even though people look different on the outside, they are all the same on the inside – with the same good and bad feelings.” She shared a story about how hurtful it is when people react to her prosthesis by avoiding her; she likes making new friends. Her advice for all of the girls: “No matter what may happen to you, don’t spend a minute on regret, just move forward and do your best and be your best - at whatever you are passionate about.”
Layla Saad, a fourth grade student, could not keep her eyes off of Amy as she spoke about her passion for running and then losing part of her leg because of a road accident. When asked what she was thinking, Layla said, “I was wondering what it would be like if I was in the same situation...I liked how Amy kept trying to do what she loved doing and never gave up, and that she didn’t let that part of her life reflect on her personality at all; she’s not angry or upset about what happened. She’s happy and determined to go on and be her best.”