Paralympic athlete Vanessa Low has been reunited with her running blades after appealing for their return on social media.
The German world long jump champion’s only set of running legs, which she planned to use at the Paralympics this summer in Rio, vanished on Saturday while she was competing in Phoenix, Arizona.
“It was a lot of long, hard work to be able to achieve that and to be able buy those legs, and they’re, like, a big part of me, they’re my mobility, they’re my job,” Low, 25, told KPHO.
“Even if I get new legs, it would take $30,000 and three, four weeks to replace them,” she continued.
Three to four weeks without practice would completely derail the young runner’s training for the Paralympics. So, she took to social media asking for help finding or replacing the missing blades.
Her plea was shared by hundreds, ultimately reaching Diana Fischer, whose company sponsored the event where the legs were lost. Fischer recalled that Low had left the bag containing her running blades at her company’s table and suspected it may have been accidentally packed up by her team.
“I immediately starting calling my employees asking them to look through our belongings and see if her bag was there, which it was,” Fischer told the Arizona Republic.
Fischer then reached out to Low to let her know that her legs would soon be returned. Lowe said she “couldn’t be happier” to hear the legs were taken accidentally. “I’m a person that believes in the good of people,” she explained.
Low said she will donate the money her supporters raised to replace her running blades to the Never Say Never Foundation – which provides prosthetic limbs and athletic training to kids with limb loss.
She added that she’s grateful to be able to help other young people gain access to running legs because her own blades were the biggest factor in her emotional recovery from the 2009 train accident that cut both her legs off above the knee.
“Walking legs don’t allow its user to jog, yet alone run,” she explained. “Running legs are a luxury. When I first got my blades I felt so fast. It helped me feel whole again and they grew into my personality. They helped me get back to the person I was.”