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Jensen will race again

By Staff | Mar 15, 2008

Amy Jensen had the cover photo of Women Inc. magazine’s December issue. The Fairmont, Minn., magazine told the story of Jensen’s courageous battle with cancer. Amy is going to get fitted for a running prosthetic in three weeks so she can run competitively again. Cover courtesy Women Inc.

Amy Jensen, 17, of Estherville has become something of a celebrity lately.

And it’s turned her life around.

It was last July that Amy had her left leg amputated to stop the spread of osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. She amazed members of a basketball team that came to visit her when she was up and around and ready to visit the next day.

An avid track and cross-country runner before her cancer diagnosis, one of Amy’s dreams was to run again. That requires a $30,000 prosthetic leg, though, which her insurance won’t cover.

Amy was the subject of a December cover story in Women Inc. magazine that lauded the example she set for others with her determination and courage to fight her battle against cancer and, yes, to run again.

Estherville residents have held numerous fund-raisers to help Amy raise money for her running prosthetic and to help pay her medical expenses and travel for chemotherapy treatments.

Then Runner’s World magazine picked up Amy’s story in its April issue.

A man named Eric Shafer was touched by Amy’s story and offered to buy her a prosthetic. Amy took him up on it. A second person in Oklahoma, in fact, saw the Runner’s World article and offered to buy her a prosthetic too.

A woman named Amy Winter contacted her and offered to pay for her plane ticket and motel. Amy decided to take her up on that too.

“We’ve got a lot of phone calls and letters,” Amy said. In three weeks she’ll go to New York where she’ll get her running prosthetic and another walking prosthetic. She plans on running cross country this fall and track a year from this spring.

Amy has finished her chemotherapy and has checkups every three months. Her last checkup showed her to be cancer-free. The next checkup will be March 24.

While she won’t have her prosthetic in time to get used to it for this track season, that doesn’t mean Amy is moping along the sidelines. She’s been keeping busy working at Fareway and Bud’s Cafe.

She’s taken the opportunity to be an inspiration to others too. She talked to seventh and eighth-graders in Spirit Lake and she’s going to be on KPTH Fox 44 television and KUOO radio.

So does becoming an inspirational speaker appeal to her?

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Amy said. “I think it would be awesome to be an inspirational speaker. I’ll take whatever path God leads me down.”

People have told her it will be difficult to have the stamina to run two to five miles this fall with a prosthetic. She’s game, though.

“If I want it bad enough, I can do it,” she says with determination.

She hopes others can take a look at how she has handled what life has handed her and draw inspiration from it.

“A negative attitude doesn’t get you anywhere,” Amy said.