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‘This Was My Life and My Identity': Prosthetic Stolen From Aspiring Paralympian

Muji Karim is competing to go to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but his custom prosthetic running blade was stolen from his SUV

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Muji Karim knows about overcoming obstacles. But even so, this one hurts.

The resident of Medford, Massachusetts, is trying to figure out who would steal his custom prosthetic running blade from his SUV over the weekend.

"It is very disappointing, you go through a lot of emotions," Karim said. "I was upset, wondering who would have taken it. It is literally done custom to me, and me only."

Karim, who lost both his legs and half of his hand in a fiery crash in 2011, says the setback couldn't have come at a worse time.

"This month of March was going to be a huge grinding, mechanics, conditioning so I can be ready," Karim said. "I'm training to go get them. I think my best is as good as anybody."

Karim is competing to go to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The Games are a long way from where he was in August 2011. Karim remembers waking up in a hospital bed, finding out he had been in a medically-induced coma for weeks.

The high school star athlete suddenly faced a new challenge.

"This was my life and my identity, so you can imagine the sort of mental crisis going on, being this athlete who had just lost his legs," he said.

Karim remembers being fitted for his first running blade, the competitive juices flowing all over again.

"I remember moving from Point A to Point B with some relative quickness was addicting, because for so long, I had been confined to a wheelchair or moving slow with a cane or a crutch," he said.

All of this is now on hold.

Karim believes the prosthetic running blade was stolen out of his vehicle while he was at a convenience store in Burlington, Vermont, late Saturday.

The running blades are sponsored, so the worry isn't about the $10,000-$12,000 cost of a new blade, but rather the weeks it takes to get fitted — weeks that Karim could be training.

"If I can eventually get over losing my real ones, I can get over someone stealing a fake one, but I would like to get it back and get up and running as soon as I can," he said.

For Karim, this is just one more hurdle to overcome.

"I know where I am, but I need to get there, and I can't get there on one leg," he said.

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