A crowd of around 100 supporters walked and cheered alongside Julie Dombo as she finished her 26th straight River Run on Saturday.
Dombo, who was shot and had both hands and feet amputated nine months ago, had been training for the race for months, and she hugged and kissed the 2-mile marker when she made it.
The crowd included Derby police officers, school colleagues, her husband, daughter, sisters, friends and friends of friends, each of whom was wearing a shirt that said “Walk, Run, Live” with a silhouette image of Dombo.
Hundreds more racers cheered and clapped as they passed by, and some stayed long after the race to cheer her on when she finished. Dombo waved and tipped her floppy hat with the prosthetic hands that she is still hoping insurance will pay for. Right now, her insurance company said its policy does not cover the hands that Dombo said she needs to live independently.
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Steve Peeples of Peeples Prosthetics was there along with Matt Amos, who walked on prosthetic legs himself, which he received after he stepped on an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011.
Dombo’s husband, John, and their daughter, Aimee, walked with her for much of the race, but Dombo walked alongside Amos as she turned for the second mile. She also walked holding hands with Lucie Glover, daughter of Samantha Glover, one of Dombo’s former colleagues at Haysville Middle School.
One of the paramedics who raced Dombo to the hospital nine months ago rode along the race route keeping an eye on Dombo and other racers. At one point, one of the walkers fell. But it turned out to be one of Dombo’s supporters who had tripped on an orange cone, not Dombo, who only stopped briefly for a sip of water that her husband poured into her mouth, as one of her sisters behind chanted, “Chug it, chug it!”
The crowd clapped and chanted, “Julie, Julie,” as she crossed the finish line and a medal was put around her neck.