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Amputee swims 21-miles to aid Jimmy Fund

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MEREDITH — Mike Welsch proved to himself that he could swim the distance from Alton Bay to Meredith, and in the process sowed the seeds of inspiration for a 6-year-old boy who, like Welsch, has only one leg.

Welsch, who lost his leg in a car accident, was exhausted when he arrived on shore at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday — 19 hours after entering the water in Alton Bay. "My arms are killing me," he said.

He started the swim at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and said he was not sure if he was going to make it at first. But he did and raised $5,000 for the Jimmy Fund in the process.

Among those who greeted him when he got out of the water was 6-year-old David Eustace, who lost his leg after an accident involving a driver who went up on the sidewalk and hit David in front of his kindergarten class. Eustace's father, Paul, brought his son down to the shore of Meredith Bay, figuring Welsch's accomplishment would be an inspiration to his son.

"I thought it would be good for him to be around someone else who can take their prosthetic on and off," Paul Eustace said of his son.

David Eustace was excited to be around Welsch, asking him all kinds of questions about the swim. David's prosthetic leg is more colorful than what you would normally see, with the base decorated with the Red Sox logo on it.

"He had an option of one that looked like a real leg," Paul Eustace chuckled. "He chose that one."

Paul said that David plays baseball and will be running soon.

Welsch said he found the swim more grueling than he expected. "This boat came flying by," he said. "I started to think it's not worth it. I don't know how I made it through."

He said that, if it were not for his crew, he would not have been able to complete the swim. Although he made it into Meredith, he did not complete the original route, which was slated to end at Mill Falls. He swam a mile into Meredith before he was pulled out.

"This was harder than New York City," he said, referring to his earlier swims.

Welsch said that, everywhere he went along the route, crowds were cheering him on, even at midnight.

In the meantime, what's next for Welsch? He pointed toward the Inn at Mill Falls. "Right up in that hotel room," he said. "And sleep."

Full article, including pics, taken from this page.

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