Double amputee gives Boston Marathon medal to child battling cancer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) —
It's a special friendship between an unlikely duo: Hector Picard, an athlete from Florida, and 12-year-old Anna Kitada of North Smithfield.
The Boston Marathon, as well as their willingness to overcome obstacles life has thrown their way, brought them together.
Picard is a double-arm amputee. He ran his first Boston Marathon Monday.
"I kept pushing, thinking of Anna and how I wanted to finish it for her," Picard said.
Kitada is facing an uphill battle of her own: bone cancer. Picard ran the marathon for her through childhood cancer charity, One Mission. Wearing her photo on his heart, Picard crossed the finish line.
The next day, Picard gave the young girl his medal at Hasbro Children's Hospital.
"I'm glad she's got it," the runner said, after his gift was met with applause from family, friends and staff.
The moment was especially encouraging, as Kitada is also an amputee. The 12-year-old had her leg amputated as a result of cancer three years ago.
"Whatever I have to do to lift up her spirits and give her the energy, I'll do it," Picard said.
The athlete had his arms amputated after a work accident in 1992. Since then, he has been traveling around the country, sharing inspirational messages. He has competed in more than 150 triathlons and has a long list of accomplishments.
Picard is already considering running his second Boston Marathon.
"I've been able to do stuff that most people can't do and it doesn't matter if I'm missing an arm," he said.
Kitada smiled and hugged Picard when he gave her the medal and a finisher's shirt.
"It's a lot heavier than I expected it to be," she said. "I'm going to hang it on my wall."
But Picard did not come for the credit -- instead, a smile, hope and one day, a cure.
"I want to thank Hector for running the race for me," Kitada said.
Picard also presented Kitada's family with another runner's medal.
"They're fighting the good fight," Picard said about the children at Hasbro. "I hope she looks at the medal and says 'OK, I lost a leg and I'm going to do everything I want to do no matter what.' You can. Reach for the stars."
Since 2010, One Mission has raised more than $5.7 million and has helped more than 7,000 patients and families.