Veteran Amputees Take On 2012 ING NYC Marathon

Press Release
October 26, 2012

28 Wounded Heroes to Participate in 2012 ING NYC Marathon

TOPIC: Of the 250 Achilles International athletes competing in this year's ING NYC Marathon, 28 are combat wounded servicemen. They will be competing as a part of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. The veterans, most of them single and double amputees injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be using handcrank wheelchairs or running on their prosthetics to complete the marathon. 

GUEST PROFILES: Notable Achilles Freedom Team participants include SSGT Alfredo Delossantos, Marine Cpl Tyler Southern, Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Hayes and Army SSGT Michael Kacer.

FOCUS:
  • SSGT Alredo Delossantos lost his right leg and suffered traumatic brain injury when struck by a Rocket Propelled Grenade in Afghanistan in 2008. Delossantos connected with Achilles while recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and competed in his first marathon in a handcycle in 2009. Since then, he has competed in nine marathons with Achilles and is now considered an elite racer.
  • Marine Cpl Tyler Southern lost both legs and an arm to an IED explosion during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2010. In January 2012, Southern finished the Disney Half Marathon in a handcycle as part of the Achilles Freedom Team. This June, He participated in the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 Miler in Central Park, walking five miles on his prosthetic legs for the first time. He will be handcycling in his first NYC Marathon this November. 
  • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Hayes lost both legs after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2010. Last October, Hayes competed in the Marine Corps Marathon in a handcycle as part of the Achilles Freedom Team. Since then, he has competed in the Disney Half, Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon. Hayes will compete in his first NYC Marathon this November as well as serve as an honoree at the Achilles Annual Dinner Gala on November 1.
  • Army SSGT Michael Kacer lost his left arm during a 2008 rocket attack while serving in Afghanistan in 2008. Kacer joined Achilles in 2009 while recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  He has competed in dozens of marathons and races with the Achilles Freedom Team and will be running in the NYC marathon this fall. 

The ING NYC Marathon is one of sixteen that Achilles participates in throughout the year. It offers a chance for disabled servicemen and veterans to improve their health and fitness, bond with peers facing similar challenges, and reconnect with their families. 

About Achilles International: A non-profit organization, Achilles International was founded in 1983 and currently holds chapters and members in over 65 locations within the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, gyms and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Over the years, Achilles has developed numerous specialized programs for children and war veteransAchilles Kids provides training, racing opportunities and an in-school program for children with disabilities, while its Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program brings running programs and marathon opportunities to disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information, please visit: http://www.achillesinternational.org/

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