Double amputee finishes 5K one year after accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Double amputee finishes 5K one year after accident

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

In one year, an Iowa woman lost her legs, learned how to walk with prosthetics and finished her first 5K.

Cedar Falls native Pam Portillo was in a boat accident one year ago in Missouri. Today she walked in the Shamrock 'N Run 5K at Irish Fest.

Portillo says crossing the finish line today meant the world to her and it's something she pushed her self to work toward after he loosing both her legs in August of last year.

Portillo crossed the finish line with a huge smile on her face this morning with her family behind her cheering her on.

"Just keep pushing and keep taking that next step," said Portillo, Lake City.

Portillo lost both her legs in an accident that changed her life.

"I went to sit down on the floor of the boat and trail my toes in the water as we went back and as I went to do that I placed my left hand on the gate of the pontoon and it flew open and took me with it," said Portillo. "I was in the water holding the gate and real shortly after the gate came off so I had no support, so I guess I just prayed and closed my eyes."

Portillo says her legs were caught in the boat's propellers.

"I just started kicking the other way, but it didn't get my upper body, but it got my legs," said Portillo. "It tore up my right leg pretty good and tore up my left foot and I decided to take them both off so I could start over new."

Her family says they were proud to walk beside her today.

"She did great," said Kate Betts, Portillo's niece. "We made really good time and I was really impressed."

Portillo and her family finished the 5K in one hour.

"She's a huge inspiration, I mean how do you come back a year later and walk a 5K in an hour? That's insane...that's amazing," said Betts.

Portillo says she just taking it one step at a time.

"I just did what I could do," said Portillo, "Just keep pushing and keep doing what you need to do, don't stop, it's gonna hurt but eventually it won't."

Portillo says she is moving forward and not dwelling on what she can't change. She says this is is her first 5K and she plans to come back every year now and walk during Irish Fest.

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