LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Amanda Sullivan can only walk with the aid of crutches. Her boyfriend, retired Marine Cpl. Todd Love, lost his legs and an arm after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan four years ago.
So why are they in D.C. this weekend, preparing for Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon?
It’s because Sullivan plans to do the entire 26.2 miles on crutches to honor Love and his sacrifices.
“I’m crutching for Love,” she tells WNEW’s John Domen. Note the wordplay.
She’s walking, too, for the people who helped Love after he sustained his injuries.
“I also want to take my steps on Sunday to honor all of Todd’s recon brothers who kept him alive that day,” she says.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them,” agreed Love. “I wouldn’t be living my life, and I wouldn’t be loving this beautiful girl if it weren’t for all those guys.”
Though Sullivan and Love have participated in shorter races together before (they actually met at a 5K in New York in 2012), Love says his job during this race is “head cheerleader.”
Sullivan says she wrestled with depression and suicidal thoughts after suffering brain and bodily injuries from two separate car accidents in 2009. In the first, her vehicle was hit by a man who was texting and driving. In the second, an elderly man accidentally going in reverse ran over her in a parking lot. She was bed ridden for two years and bound to a wheelchair for a long time.
Participating in runs, she says, makes her feel empowered again.
“People always ask me if I’ll ever be how I was before I got injured, and the answer is I’ll never be how I was before I got injured and that’s just because I’m going to be even better.”
This weekend just happens to mark the four-year anniversary of Love’s injuries.
“I always know that I want to do something special for Todd any day, but most importantly on this weekend. So I just felt like it was destiny,” Sullivan says.