PHOENIX — On Friday morning, a longtime dream will become reality for one Valley woman.
Jacky Hunt-Broersma, was born in South Africa before making Gilbert her home. She hopes to be the first-ever amputee to complete the Moab 240, a grueling 240-mile race through the trails of Utah in under 113 hours.
The race marks the sum of years of training.
“I'll be an emotional wreck when I cross that finish line because it’s been everything. Showing everyone what you can achieve,” Hunt-Broersma said.
For someone hoping to finish an incredibly taxing race, Hunt-Broersma didn't always love running.
“I was like people are crazy. If you run, you're crazy. I didn’t want to be doing it,” Hunt-Broersma said.
That was before a diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma. Doctors amputated her leg at the age of 26.
“Everything literally happened in a span of three weeks," Hunt-Broersma said.
She quickly returned to work, but the lasting impacts of losing her leg continued to follow her. Hunt-Broersma said she felt like everything became harder.
“I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for a very long time,” Hunt-Broersma said.
Then, around 5 years ago when she watched her husband Edwin finish a marathon, she decided she wanted to try. Even as doctors and friends tried to persuade her to not pursue the hobby.
“I'm very stubborn and I was like, 'I want to give it a shot,'” Hunt-Broersma said.
She completed 5K after 5K before focussing on marathons then moved up to 100-mile races.
“I'm so proud of her. She caught up and has gone farther than I have,” Edwin Broersma said.
On Friday, Edwin will take his turn to cheer his wife on. He will be her coach and biggest fan.
Hunt-Broersma said she will need to average 60 miles a day to provide enough time for meals and sleep if she is going to make it to the finish line by the time limit.
“You just have to focus just on moving forward,” Hunt-Broersma said.
In the end, she hopes her run can inspire those like her and show them that anything is possible.
“I would tell my younger self what you have achieved and how far you’ve come, not what you’ve lost,” Hunt-Broersma said.
These are just a few of the inspiring stories of people doing good and supporting those in their communities across Arizona.