Retired Texas Marine Staff Sgt. Jose Sanchez lost the lower half of his left leg after he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011. The retired Marine would not let that interfere with him running in the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday.
The Marine became an instant social media star as people watching Sanchez began posting pictures on the internet of him carrying an American flag while running.
Sanchez wore a Semper Fi Fund shirt and ran on his prosthetic leg for the entirety of 26.2 mile race, finishing it in 5:46:13.
“The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities,” Semper Fi Fund’s website reads.
The American flag that Sanchez carried during the race was given to him by his fellow servicemen as he recovered in the hospital following the IED blast.
I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it,” Sanchez told Runners World. “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”
“When I was recovering, I couldn’t stand up for three seconds or walk for more than two feet,” Sanchez added. “I fought for four or five years to be able to walk and lift my body. Then I wanted to push it further by doing a marathon.”
Sanchez recently ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. and last year’s Boston Marathon.