By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – The four Northborough elementary school PTOs recently partnered to virtually host Paralympic athlete and founder of The Born to Run Foundation Noelle Lambert. Her left leg was amputated after a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard in 2016. Her message was one of determination, perseverance and gratefulness.
Finding strength after tragedy
A New Hampshire native, Lambert played lacrosse at UMASS Lowell at the time of the accident.
She was aware of the severity of the accident, but never personally felt that she was going to die. But instead, there were moments of defeat, embarrassment and fear.
“All my hopes and dreams to play lacrosse and sports seemed nearly impossible,” said Lambert
She credits her mom for giving her strength to follow her goal to run again.
She knew that she didn’t want the accident to define the rest of her life. She wanted people to be inspired by her, not to feel sorry for her.
“Never be afraid to lean on your friends or family,” Lambert said. “They are the ones who love you the most and believe in your dreams.”
Months into her healing, Lambert received her first prosthetic and realized that insurance does not typically cover the cost, which can be $10,000-$50,000.
She was motivated when she learned about foundations, which support amputees to live a regular life, be active and play sports.
“Through the entire journey I received a lot of helping hands,” she said. “It motivated me to want to give back and show amputees around the world that just because they have a disability, it doesn’t mean that their life is over.”
Lambert founded the nonprofit The Born to Run Foundation. Its focus is to help ease the financial burden and provide specialized prosthetics for children and young adults. Since it started, 11 people have benefited from the foundation’s support. The first was a three-year-old boy.
“Being a part of all these donations, hits home,” she said. “If I could go through everything I did and end up on top, so can they.”
She said it took her three years to feel confident and not self-conscious, but she views the accident as a positive.
“I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Lambert said. “It changed my whole outlook on life. Something can be taken away from you in a second…I will not take anything for granted ever again.”
Personal success and giving back
Due to her determination and perseverance, she returned to college, played lacrosse again and graduated in 2019. She also made the United States Paralympic Track & Field team and holds the American record in the 100-meter race. She is currently training for the 16th Summer Paralympic Games to be held later this year in Tokyo.
She admits that she is still a rookie to running and it hasn’t come easy.
“I put in the work and practice and give 100 percent in everything I do,” she said.
Lambert was recently named L’oreal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree and received $35,000 for her foundation.
Student questions were answered at the end of the event.
View information on The Born to Run Foundation website.
Photos/submitted by Blue Sky Sports & Entertainment