Amputees Across America, an organization celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, visited Largo Monday as part of its annual 3500 mile, coast-to-coast bicycle journey.
Five amputee cyclists took part in the event this year, which began in California on June 1 and will end in Vero Beach, FL on July 22. The cyclists visited 19 HealthSouth hospitals over the course of their trip in an effort to raise awareness of amputees as active individuals.
Meet a local man featured on the new TLC Series “Answered Prayers”. TLC explores modern-day miracles with ANSWERED PRAYERS, a new series presented by celebrated actress & producer Roma Downey. Boston Bill Hansbury tells us about how he was able to help a little boy who was facing amputation.
Back in 2008, “Boston” Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic after losing his leg to an infection. That’s when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite a wide gap in their ages — Hansbury was 70, and Bainter was 7. The pair recently discussed their friendship, and other topics, during a visit to StoryCorps in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 2007, Boston Bill became an amputee after an infection spread through his foot. After his quick recovery, and determination not to let it get in between his lifelong passion for running, he became an inspiration to the amputee patients he visited, and all those he encounters. It is because of people like Boston Bill, and the incredible inspiration and perspective they grant me, that I am able to endure all.
Amputees Across America is an American journey of amputees, crossing the United States on bicycles to commemorate those individuals they meet along the way who have suffered an injury or sudden illness but have not lost hope and refuse to give up. Join Bill on his epic journey.
Jacob Bainter is a skinny, 10-year-old boy from Orlando, Fla., who plays basketball, rides a motor scooter, knee-boards and loves fishing for bluegill and bass. Two-and-a-half years ago, St. Petersburg resident, Boston Bill, and Jake randomly crossed paths, and since then, Bill and the Boy have become friends, inspiring each other and helping each other cope through the ups and downs of being amputees.
This story is about what happened on one remarkable day in St. Petersburg — Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, to be exact. It’s about a chance encounter between a couple of Dickensian characters, a crusty one-legged man who lives in the city, and a sad-eyed little boy from Orlando. The amazing coincidence of their meeting changed their lives. When the broken man met the broken boy, they began a journey to become whole again. The crusty one-legged man is Bill Hansbury, though everybody calls him Boston Bill because his roots extend to Fenway Park. Pass the lobstah, please.
At his shop Lost In Time at the St. Pete Pier, Brian Evensen is surrounded by fossils and artifacts. It’s a passion that started early.
“At seven I found my first arrow head and at nine my first shark tooth,” he says. But in April while searching for shark teeth, something else sharp poked Evensen in the foot. He developed a severe infection and underwent a series of amputations. “After four amputations in a row, I was like waving the white flag-either shoot me or get me fixed.” Evensen has spent 50 years digging up discoveries around the Tampa Bay area, but what really surprised him was the discovery he made about his health insurance.