A Southern California mom who lost both legs after a car crash left her stranded in a snowstorm is set to run the Boston Marathon.
Jami Marseilles was 19 years old when she and a friend were stranded in a storm for 11 days after a crash in Arizona. The two depended on each other to get through the frightening ordeal.
"I was her rock and she did the same thing for me," Marseilles said.
Frostbite could have killed her.
The kindergarten teacher — a mother of two from Huntington Beach — called the decision to amputate both legs below the knee a "no brainer."
"She makes you feel like you can handle anything," said Bernadette Halter, a fellow teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Garden Grove. "There is nothing life can't throw at you that you can't make it into a positive. Lives and shows it every time she's here."
Marseilles is pacing herself for the 26.2 mile-race on April 18, which she will run on prosthetics — a feat she completed once in Chicago to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
"I've dedicated myself to this event and I know when I start that race a week from today, I'm going to give it 150 percent," she said.
Marseilles said Monday she's determined to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes.
"We all have challenges, and I think sometimes we use those challenges as an excuse not to do something, but Jami teaches us as a reason why we should do something instead," said Eisenhower Elementary School Principal Beth Cusimano.
Marseilles' determination also inspires others, like Celeste Corcoran, who lost her legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Marseilles mentors Corcoran.
"She gave me this bracelet that says 'Boston Strong,'" Corcoran said.
She hopes to become the first female bilateral amputee to finish the marathon and has one motto to get herself through it: "Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever."