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Boston Marathon bombing survivor helps amputee, 5, run again

by Alexandra Zaslow / / Source: TODAY

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Ever since young amputee Jude Hill received new running blades, he hasn't been able to slow down.

The 5-year-old boy lost both of his feet in a lawnmower accident at his home in Peoria, Illinois, on June 21, 2014. This left his parents, Greg and Jennifer Hill, saddened for their son and worried about finances.

 Jude Hill displayed his prosthetic legs. Courtesy of Jen Hill

"We're a single-income home with five kids under the age of 10 and Jude is still a growing boy, which means we'll have to keep buying him new legs," Jennifer Hill told TODAY. "Not to mention all the work that goes into finding the right prosthetic."

RELATED: Young triathlete with cerebral palsy creates race to help other kids with disabilities

Jude has gone through three prostheses, and it took over a year after the accident for him to find a pair that didn't cause too much pain and make him cry when putting on the device.

"He's very athletic and loves sports, especially track and field," Hill said. "He's entering kindergarten in the fall and the thought of him not being able to partake in any sports just broke my heart."

 Jude showed off his moves. Courtesy of Jen Hill.

After losing both feet as a bystander in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott started her namesake organization to help amputees, like Jude, "thrive in recovering and return to doing what they love," she told TODAY.

"Before becoming an amputee, I didn't know anything about prosthetics. I had no reason to!" Abbott said. "But I learned that they're extremely expensive and require different devices for different activities."

 Jude Hill posed with Heather Abbott just after receiving his new running blades. Courtesy of the Heather Abbott Foundation

RELATED: 'Amputation hasn't stopped me': Boy's inspiring race photo lifts fellow amputees

Abbott flew from Rhode Island to meet Jude at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago on July 8. There, she gave him two high-tech blade running feet and two running socket prostheses, which will help him run and compete in sports.

"Since the Boston Marathon bombing was so public, there were so many organizations wanting to help me get back to my life, but not everyone is so lucky," Abbott said. "It's just so expensive for these families, so it helps me make sense of something senseless that happened to me."

Within seconds of putting the new running blades on, Jude was off and there was no stopping him. He even outran Abbott!

 Jude can now play sports with his prosthetic legs. Courtesy of Jen Hill

Jude has since been running every chance he gets and can't wait for school to start so he can join the track and field team, which is something he wasn't sure he'd be able to do.

"It's just amazing to be able to help a child do what every other child is able to do," Abbott said.

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