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Double amputee US Army vet set to run in Disney marathon shares inspiring message

Double amputee, US Army vet set to run in Disney marathon shares inspiring message (WPEC)
Double amputee, US Army vet set to run in Disney marathon shares inspiring message (WPEC)
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From hardships to triumph, nothing is stopping a retired U.S. Army Specialist from hitting the pavement and proving anything is possible.

Jupiter resident Stefan LeRoy lost both his legs while serving overseas.

This weekend, the 27-year-old is taking on a new challenge at the 2019 Walt Disney World marathon.

LeRoy isn’t running just one race, not even two; he is running the 5K, 10K, half marathon and is hand cycling the full marathon on Sunday.

“It’s something that has been a part of my life,” he said.

In June of 2012, LeRoy was deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division when he stepped on a bomb while carrying a fellow soldier to a waiting helicopter seconds after an explosion went off around them in Afghanistan.

“I lost both my legs instantly,” he said. “Single above the knee and a single below the knee amputee.”

The traumatic incident that occurred thousands of miles away from home never stopped him from achieving his goal: to experience the thrill of running again.

LeRoy struggled with depression and anxiety until he got his prosthetic legs and running blades.

He describes his training as challenging, saying he suffers from blisters and painful chafing.

“I also have to be careful of overdoing it,” LeRoy said. “The recovery was a long process. It was very frustrating. I wasn’t initially able to walk in prosthetics, but I focused on adaptive sports. I made it that I was able to stay positive.”

Every strides LeRoy takes is a massive accomplishment.

His resilience is fueled by the support with the Achilles International Freedom Team, "an organization that encourages wounded vets to participate in running events."

His other support system is David M. Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, who will accompany and guide LeRoy during the race again this year.

“You keep training. You keep stepping it up. You keep pushing through it,” LeRoy said.

LeRoy has since completed dozens of races, like the Boston Marathon.

“What we’re trying to continue down the road is to get other people to say, 'Hey, I can do this. This is not impossible. We can do this,'" he said.

The double-amputee veteran is indeed unstoppable; he is about to graduate from Palm Beach State College.

He also just announced he and his fiancée, Katie, who also runs with him, are expecting their first child this year.

He hopes his story will empower others, especially those with disabilities.

His message is simple: Anything is possible.

“Whatever their adversity is, everyone’s adversity is different," LeRoy said. "They can push through that and they can build themselves up and they can build others around them."

He received the following awards and medals:

  • Purple Heart
  • Army Commendation Medal W/ V Device
  • Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award)
  • Army Achievement Medal
  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Overseas Service Ribbon
  • NATO Medal
  • Combat Action

The retired U.S. Army Specialist tells CBS12 News he volunteers some of his time at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center to share his message with others like him that what happens on the battlefield doesn’t have to hold you back.

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The Purple Heart recipient plans to run another marathon this year.

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