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Hometown Hero: Amputee Crosses the Finish Line to Inspire Others

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- LaVonna Smith has a contagious smile. The loving wife, mother of two, and new grandma embraces everything life has to offer.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- LaVonna Smith has a contagious smile. The loving wife, mother of two, and new grandma embraces everything life has to offer.

She lived an active lifestyle, traveling, coaching beauty pageants, giving back to the community, and always doing things for others. One day her world changed.

"I remember the morning that I first came to and I didn't have my leg. I couldn't breathe and when I came home from the hospital I hadn't really cried and just sat and thought about, 'What's my life gong to be like?'"

LaVonna became very ill earlier this year with a rare blood disorder. It resulted in her left leg being amputated. Emotionally and physically traumatized, LaVonna was determined to turn things around.

"Because God doesn't want me to just sit and mourn," she says. "That's not who I am."

The inspiration was all around her, but her real drive was in her heart, still wanting to help others.

"That gave me the drive to really pick it up and make this worth while and show other people who have a disability not to sit back and feel sorry for yourself. Put that smile in your heart and let that show in what you do."

So LaVonna finished the Mercy Sunshine 5K Walk and Run, smiling all the way with her family, friends, and the staff from the Burn and WoundCenter at MercyHospital by her side.

LaVonna raised $2,100 to give to the outpatient Burn and Wound Clinic to help other amputee patients.

"She is a true giver," says nurse Allison Felton with Mercy. "She uplifts us as nurses and providers every single day. She keeps on encouraging and she comes in early and visits with patients and encourages them to and reminds them there is hope and continue to go on."

Next year, with a prosthesis, LaVonna will walk to the finish line.

"I would just like for people to take a moment each day they get up be thankful they can stand on their two feet, without a walker and do something good for someone. You know we all make a difference every day, but it's how we make that difference is what counts. So that's my quest -- is to help others."

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