Paralympian Noelle Lambert competes in the 100-meter dash. She is one of the fastest in the world in the event but didn’t lace up to race until recently.
She said she preferred playing team sports.
“I had never participated in track or even thought about doing track,” Lambert said. “Growing up, I really didn’t like running at all.”
She was recruited to play Division 1 lacrosse at UMass Lowell, but a terrible accident after her freshman year changed her life.
“My leg was severed on the scene,” she said. “I was completely conscious. I could remember every single detail about that day, and when I was laying on the ground, the first thing I did think of was sports.”
Through her recovery, Lambert said she was inspired by others who had faced similar challenges, including marathon bombing survivor Roseann Sdoia.
“I remember seeing the running blade,” she said. “I just said to myself, ‘I want one immediately and I want to return playing lacrosse as soon as possible.’”
Lambert became the first above-the-knee amputee ever to play Division 1 lacrosse.
Competing in track has taken her to Dubai, Paris and Tokyo, her own perseverance and the generosity of others helping along the way.
“I personally had two different prosthetics donated to me from two different foundations,” Lambert said. “Seeing the work that they do for other people really spoke to me, and that really just made me think that this is really something that I want to do with my life.”
Lambert and her family started the Born to Run Foundation.
The charity donates protheses to young people in need. Lambert said they can range in price from $10,000 to $15,000.
In November, a local charity run will help Lambert raise funds. Stephen Sartori is race director for the GenesisHR Battlegreen Run in Lexington.
“We try and partner with other nonprofits that don’t get enough exposure,” he said.
The race on Nov. 7 will mark the 25th running of the event. Sartori said Lambert is a perfect role model given their mission.
“We want younger people to come to the realization that they need to give back too,” Sartori said. “That’s part of the reason why we do what we do.”