Double amputee to run up Empire State Building for charity

Before he could even walk, one Crown Heights man had to deal with losing his legs, but now he wants to inspire others with physical disabilities.

News 12 Staff

May 14, 2019, 11:40 AM

Updated 1,795 days ago

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Before he could even walk, one Crown Heights man had to deal with losing his legs, but now he wants to inspire others with physical disabilities.
Roderick Sewell is like any runner in the borough, except for his disabilities.

“I had missing tibias in both my legs, so at a year and a half my mom opted to get my legs amputated and I got my first pair of prosthetics when I was 3 so I learned how to walk on prosthetics,” says Sewell.

The equipment needed for him to walk and run comes with a hefty price tag.

Just one blade for one foot is roughly $1,500 and that's without the socket and the labor. The cost of his physical disabilities put a toll on his family life.

As a child living in San Diego at the time, his mom had to file for unemployment. 

“Insurance won’t pay for running blades because they consider running a luxury,” says Sewell.

Sewell says he and his mother were homeless for a while.

“I don’t want a kid to be that way. I want them to grow up being active, not waiting for them to be active,” says Sewell. 

The 27-year-old is competing in the Empire State Building Run Up Tuesday, racing up the landmark building with Challenge Athlete's Foundation.

"Running up 86 flights of stairs, 1,500 steps,” says Sewell.

By running, the Crown Heights resident will raise money to help others with permanent physical challenges to get necessary equipment.

“There's always those few that want to tell you what you can and can't do but it's up to you to find out what you're capable of,” says Sewell.


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