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Dozens of amputee athletes attend clinic in Evanston

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CHICAGO — Dozens of athletes who have lost a limb or more attended a clinic in Evanston to help improve their skills and confidence.

Katie Gazzola got a new prosthetic leg last week and already, she's breaking a sweat.

"It's been a workout," Gazzola said.

Two years ago, Gazzola lost her leg from the knee down in a boating accident. Now, she and about three dozen other athletes are up for the challenge in a Mobility Clinic at Quad Indoor Sports in Evanston. It's sponsored by the prosthetic manufacturer Össur and Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Among the athletes is retired Marine Captain Eric McElvenny. While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, he lost his right leg after stepping on an IED. 22 months later, he completed his first Ironman Triathalon. He then completed seven more, but that isn't his proudest moment.

McElvenny is just part of what he calls a mobility family, which includes the sponsors: Prosthetic Manufacturer, Össur and the group Challenged Athletes Foundation. They offer more than just hardware. They offer hope. For Gazzola, this means catching up for lost time with her 11-year-old son.

"This leg doesn't just mean I can run," Gazzola said. "It means I can go to the beach with him, walk into the ocean with him. Life I wasn't able to do before."

It's a mission that gives back to all involved.

For more information on the Challenged Athletes Foundation, go their website.

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