Nate Wigdahl and Chris Meadows

Nate Wigdahl, left, stands with Chris Meadows at Hanger Clinic. Wigdahl and organizers of The Blade 5K named Meadows the recipient of this year’s fundraising race. Funds will go toward helping Meadows purchase a running blade.

Chris Meadows thought he was heading to a run-of-the-mill physical therapy appointment.

But when he walked in, he was surprised to learn he would be the recipient of a new running blade.

Meadows, whose left leg is amputated below the knee, will receive funds to pay for the new prosthesis raised through The Blade 5K.

This year’s race, in its second year, is Saturday and will take runners on a 5K or 1-mile route around Chalco Hills Recreation Area.

Organizers expect more than 100 runners at the race, and they hope to raise $6,000 to $10,000 for Meadows.

Last year, proceeds went to Nate Wigdahl. The Elkhorn man chose to have his left leg amputated below the knee after four surgeries couldn’t remedy the injuries he sustained in a soccer injury 11 years prior.

A running blade would help Wigdahl get back to his hobby of long-distance running.

Meadows had his leg amputated in 2006 after injuries sustained from a car crash in Las Vegas.

Meadows, now 32, said he still remembers riding as a passenger in the car as it rolled over the side of an embankment on the freeway. He crawled out of one of the vehicle’s broken windows and tried to stand up.

“I remember collapsing and feeling blood leaving my body,” Meadows said. “I felt that warmness around me. Then things faded to black, and the ambulance woke me up.”

Meadows said first responders asked him a series of questions — who’s the president, what’s your name, where do you live — but he knew something was wrong when they asked if he could wiggle his toes, and he couldn’t.

At the hospital, his left leg was amputated below the knee. He was saddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills.

It took about nine months for Meadows to heal from the surgery and receive his first prosthesis. In recovery, he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

“I believe (the crash) was a message from a higher power that I needed to slow down in life,” Meadows said. “I was on a downward path. I wasn’t living my best self.”

Meadows moved to Omaha three years ago to be closer to family. He recently celebrated three years of sobriety.

Staff at Hanger Clinic in Omaha encouraged Meadows to apply to be the recipient of the 5K’s fundraising.

A blade prosthesis may not encourage Meadows to take up long-distance running, but it will help him to get back on the football field and basketball court. He also hopes he can be more active with his 7-year-old daughter, Isis.

“I want her to have the best moments she possibly can with me,” Meadows said. “Being in a better-fitting prosthetic means all the difference in that. I don’t want to be out there feeling uncomfortable and making her feel like she’s dragging her dad outside.”

Meadows will be at Saturday’s 5K and plans to run along with the other participants.

Race-day registration is available. The cost is $30 for the 1-mile race and $40 for the 5K. For more information, visit runsignup.com and search “The Blade 5K.”

EVENTS THIS WEEK

ThunderBOLT Fun Run

When: 8 a.m. Saturday

Where: Holmes Lake Park, Lincoln

Cost: $17 to $25

Information: bit.ly/2YrZi0H

Sarpy County Fair 4-H 5K

When: 8 a.m. Saturday

Where: Sarpy County fairgrounds, 100 Main St., Springfield

Cost: $25

Information: bit.ly/2LK9Zd7

Lake Wehrspann Run

When: 7:30 a.m. Sunday

Where: Chalco Hills Recreation Area, 8901 S. 154th St.

Cost: $30 to $40

Information: omaharun.org

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