Boston Marathon bombing survivor helps 53-year-old receive rare waterproof prosthesis

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston Marathon bombing survivor Heather Abbott is helping a 53-year-old man receive a rare waterproof prosthesis.

Jamie McLelland and Heather Abbott are both defying the odds and getting back to what they love after battling through trauma.

“Imagine you have to sit in a chair every day and then somebody says you can get out of the chair now and have your life back,” McLelland said.

Last year McLelland had part of his leg amputated and applied for a grant to the Abbot Foundation to get his sea legs back.

Abbott lost part of her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombings and started a foundation to provide prosthetics to people in need.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see him back out doing what he loves,” a family member of McLelland said.

McLelland was back no his paddleboard thanks to a special water prosthesis from the Abbott Foundation.

“My phone rang one night and it was a strange number so I handed it to my wife thinking, ‘Oh this is a robocall, let her handle it,'” McLelland said. “But it was Heather.”

McLelland grew up in Hampton Beach and is passionate about paddleboarding and kayaking, but his amputation kept him out of the water for the past few years.

“The leg I was born with, turned into a prison where I could not do any of the things I would like to do,” McLelland said.

Now he is getting back in the water and the life he lives.

“It is great being able to be here and meet Jamie and see his family and actually see him use the waterproof prosthesis on his paddleboard,” Abbott said.

McLelland’s specific amputation surgery is called the “Ewing Amputation” and allows for his new limbs to feel and act like a real leg. He is just the seventh person in the world to have it.

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