Originally found at www.antonnews.com
The Girl Scouts of Nassau County announced Amy Palmiero-Winters as the 2011 Grand Marshall of the “Girls Go the Distance” Walkathon. On Sunday, June 5 at SUNY College at Old Westbury, Amy will lead the two-mile walk to raise awareness and support for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Healthy Living Initiative.
“We are overjoyed to have Amy as the Grand Marshall of our Walkathon!” said Donna Ceravolo, Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Her perseverance, athleticism and accomplishments are incredibly admirable and inspirational to us all.”
Amy Palmiero-Winters’ story is one of pure courage. Palmiero-Winters has been a runner since age eight, when she crossed her first finish line. However, in 1994, her left foot was crushed in a motorcycle accident, challenging her ability to ever walk – let alone run – again. Three years and twenty-five surgeries later, Palmiero-Winters had to amputate her leg and was fitted with a walking prosthesis and resumed competing in half-marathons, marathons, and triathlons. After hearing about Erik Schaffer, owner of A Step Ahead Prosthetics, she decided to quit her job as a welder and move to Long Island to become a member of Team A Step Ahead, a group of elite amputee athletes, and began working full time for A Step Ahead as the company’s sports program director.
On January 1, 2010, she won the “Run to the Future,” a 24-hour race in Glendale, AZ, by running 130.4 miles. This performance earned her the distinction of being the first amputee to qualify for the U.S. National Track and Field Team. In April, Palmiero-Winters received the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) Sullivan Award for her efforts, recognizing her as the nation’s top amateur athlete, and in July, she received an ESPY Award for the top female athlete with a disability. In October she received the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2010 Wilma Rudolph Courage Award, CAF’s Sempra Energy Trailblazer Award along with the Huffington Posts Ultimate Game Changers in Sport Award and the Strength USA.com National Athlete of the Month
Palmiero-Winters has competed in some of the world’s most grueling ultramarathon races including the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 24-Hour World Championships in Brive, France in May 2010 and the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile race through the Sierra Nevada’s, in June 2010. As a member of the U.S. National Team, she helped the women finish fourth in Brive. At Western States, she became the first amputee to ever finish and was awarded a bronze belt buckle given to finishers who finish in less than thirty hours. Named as one of the Washington Post’s top 10 runners of the decade in November, she will compete in the Ultraman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, which consists of a 6.2-mile swim, 261.4-mile bike, and a 52.4-mile run.
Palmiero-Winters is also a mother of two (Carson 7, Madilynn 5), mentor, coach, and a compassionate individual who uses her talent to give back to others. She gives motivational speeches and runs marathons pushing wheelchair-bound children, trying to inspire them to push beyond their obstacles as she has. Her triumphant story gives hope to people – both able-bodied and amputees – and proves that nothing is impossible.
The Girls Go the Distance Walkathon will benefit the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Healthy Living Initiative which brings a unique perspective to keeping girls healthy, as girls define health in their own terms, placing as much emphasis on emotional and social well-being as physical health, nutrition and physical fitness. In addition to healthy eating and physical fitness, the Healthy Living Initiative also focuses on increasing girls’ self-esteem, media image awareness and how to develop healthy relationships.
Walkathon attendees will participate in fun activities that can help them learn about healthy choices, while Girl Scout Alumnae and corporate teams can meet Palmiero-Winters and current Girl Scouts, network with peers and be real-life role models for girls throughout Nassau County.
To register, become a team captain or for more information on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County “Girls Go the Distance” Walkathon, please visit www.gsnc.org/walk.