A woman is turning obstacles into opportunities, and working toward the top of her sport,
despite some setbacks.
Daphne Hegreness has big plans for 2012, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported on Wednesday.
She hopes to compete at the site of the London Olympics, and she is doing it with only one
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As a college freshman, Hegreness developed what looked like a bruise on her left ankle, Cambern
"I went to tons of doctors all over," Hegreness said. "No one could figure out what it was."
After four years, the diagnosis was soft tissue cancer.
"The type that Daphne has is extremely rare," said Ohio State University Orthopedic Oncologist
Dr. Joel Mayerson. "There are only 30 or less cases per year in the United States."
Two years ago her leg was amputated and she was fitted with an artificial leg, Cambern
She spent nine months learning how to walk again, then decided that she wanted to run.
"I was not a runner at all," Hegreness said. "Not for exercise or for sport. I've never
even been to a track and field event."
After she started, Hegreness decided she would not just run, but run in the Paralympics for
Her coach is her husband, Jeff Hegreness, a doctoral student in physical therapy.
"Whatever she wants to do, I'm going to give her that opportunity," Jeff Hegreness said.
Because she could not feel her feet hit the ground, Hegreness needed to learn a new way to
"I just came home one night from a clinical and said, 'All right, let's try this in the living
room', and she learned how to run in our living room," Jeff Hegreness said.
Then, bone spurs at her amputation site nearly stopped her, Cambern reported.
Mayerson removed them, and her pain improved. If Hegreness can boost her speed, she will
get a special coach and at shot at the Paralympics.
"I just want to do it to show people that it can be done," Hegreness said. "If I don't make it
in 2012 there's always Rio de Janeiro in 2016. So I'm not going to give up."
To pick up speed, Hegreness will need a "running leg," a special piece of equipment
that costs $14,000. Friends and family are trying to raise money to help her buy one.
Hegreness plans to run in her first race in about a month.
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