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Friday, April 16, 2021

Woman gets new wheelchair thanks to athletes

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A woman waiting for a new wheelchair finally got her wish thanks to some fellow athletes.

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No matter who you are or what you do, your shoes reveal part of your story.

“I mean whatever goes on your shoes goes on my wheelchair—and then my hands,” Connie Belt said.

If her clean white sneakers symbolize her innocence, Connie’s wheelchair represents years and miles of determination.

At a young age, Connie was partially paralyzed following domestic abuse.

“My birth certificate dad came in and shot me and my mom and her boyfriend,” Connie said.

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The incident took place in Kansas City. Eventually, Lincoln became her new home. And for the past seven years, a wheelchair propelled her through marathons and competitions, as well as day-to-day life.

“I’ve had it for like seven years now, which is, I think, two years more than they’re supposed to last these days,” Connie said.

On Sunday morning, members of the Blade 5K non-profit of Omaha surprised Connie with the money to purchase a new wheelchair. The funds were raised by participants in the non-profit’s 2020 5K, despite the coronavirus pandemic that forced them to walk and run on their own.

“I’m not sure if people are aware insurance will pay for a typical prosthetic, but they won’t pay for a running blade because they feel it’s not necessary,” non-profit vice president Liz Wallace said.

Connie’s new chair will help her better maneuver thanks to its moving parts. But she still has a lot to thank her former chair.

After pacing 26 miles for several hours, Connie competed in the Kansas City marathon. She passed by the very place she was shot at years ago.

“I wanted to take back that spot,” Connie said. “And that’s what I did.”

After a lifetime of trauma, a new start comes in the form of a fresh set of wheels.

Members of the Blade 5K want to help more athletes like Connie.

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If you know someone with a story, contact the Blade 5K here.

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