With her hands triumphantly raised in the air, an Orange County kindergarten teacher made history Monday when she became the first female double amputee to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
Jami Marseilles finished the race in seven hours and 46 minutes on prosthetics. She trained for months, even completing the Chicago Marathon last fall to qualify for the 26.2-mile race in Boston.
Marseilles lost her legs to frostbite after a car crash left her stranded in a snowstorm for 11 days. At 19 years old, frostbite could have killed her - she contracted gangrene in both legs. Marseilles called the decision to amputate both legs below the knee a "no brainer."
Local news from across Southern California
The 47-year-old mother of two from Huntington Beach ran in honor of the woman she mentors, Celeste Corcoran, who lost her legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
"I've developed strong relationships with some survivors of the Boston bombing, and I feel like it will be a way to pay it forward to them. They're still trying to figure out their lives and their future," she told Today.
"If I can provide people with inspiration and motivation, I feel like it's given me a purpose of why I was saved on that mountain."
Marseilles is a teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Garden Grove.