Veteran amputee on a mission to tackle Bridge Run 2017

Veteran amputee on a mission to tackle Bridge Run 2017
Updated: Mar. 30, 2017 at 7:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Tens of thousands of racers are expected to join the 40th Anniversary Cooper River Bridge Run Saturday.

For Lowcountry veteran Darrell Bivens, the race is about more than crossing the Ravenel Bridge.

"This wasn't a Darrell thing. There is a whole team of people that are getting me over that bridge," Bivens, who served in the U.S. Army said. Last April, Bivens experienced complications from diabetes and an infection in his leg. He had to undergo a foot amputation, losing the lower half of his right leg.

"When this first happened initially, I didn't know what was going to happen to me," Bivens, adding he didn't know anyone with a prosthetic. "I didn't think I'd ever walk again."

Bivens said motivation to get back on his feet came while being treated at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

What started as a joke with physical therapist Janine Tumminia, soon turned into a mission to take on the nation's third largest 10 K.

"He did have the goal of three miles,' Tumminia said. "He did jokingly mention the Bridge Run, and I latched on to that."

"Saturday was a goal to walk over the bridge with this prosthetic," Bivens said. "Just to see if I could do it."

For staff at the VA in downtown Charleston, Bivens' journey to the base of the bridge proves to others what's possible.

"An injury doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of your life,' Tumminia  said. "The physical work, yes that's hard, but I think it's the mental acceptance of it is the biggest hurdle."

Bivens said he's walking for his family and support system Friday, including his wife and two children.

"Life is going to throw some punches at you. And when it knocks you down, just get back up," he said. "Whether you're a veteran or day to day things, it's rough. No matter what you're going through, you can get through it."

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