Cedar Falls girl inspires others to "go the extra mile" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls girl inspires others to "go the extra mile"


A 12-year-old girl is inspiring friends and family members to go the extra mile -- literally.

To come out for a three-mile run in December, when the temp is below ten degrees, dressed up in costume -- you have to be pretty strong-willed. But to do it just eight weeks after having major reconstructive surgery on your foot? That takes courage

"I never get to run, because I never could run. So it's a big deal," said 12-year-old Annabel Leasure.

"Frankly, in her whole life, I don't think she's run more than up and down a basketball court once," her mom, Kellie, added.

Leasure was born with a club foot, a condition that affects one in every thousand children. She's endured twelve surgeries in her twelve years of life, including two major ones in September. After her final surgery, Leasure set a goal of running a 5k with her family and friends.

The only thing still standing in her way was her shoes.

"Annabel tries on, probably about 40-50 pairs of shoes in order to get a good fit," her mother explained.

The folks at The Runner's Flat in Cedar Falls made it their priority to see Leasure run.

"They've been able to fit a brace with a double wide on one foot and a regular size on the other. It's just been phenomenal. And for her, to have a pair of shoes that fit her, this is truly the second time in her life she's been able to wear a pair of running shoes and feel good about it," said Kellie.

"We work with a lot of athletes, which is fun. But this is a really special case where we really have gotten to see her transform. She had her surgeries, she's doing so great. I'm so glad she's out here today running," said Stacey Turilli, who worked closely with Leasure.

Saturday, with her new shoes laced up, Leasure was ready to hit the road. Halfway through the race, with her dad at her side, you could see she was physically in pain. But Leasure refused to give up

Three point one miles later, she accomplished what once seemed impossible -- running across a finish line

"This is our day for her! She set the goal herself. And it's unbelievable to me, within eight weeks of having two major surgeries, bones cut out, that she's able to stand here today and be running with her family," her mom said.

So what's next for this brave sixth-grader? The Leasure family moved to Cedar Falls from Colorado so Leasure could go through physical therapy at the University of Northern Iowa. Now that she's accomplished her goal of running a 5K, Leasure is setting her sights on downhill skiing back in Colorado.

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