Walking on two, healthy legs is something Allie Mazur once thought she would never be able to do again.
"There were some times where I was like 'okay let's cut it off, it's not serving me it's just making me sick,' " UB senior Allie Mazur said.
But then she thought about the bigger picture in life.
"I want to be able to walk down the aisle with my two legs and push my kids around with my two legs," Allie explained.
These were the thoughts going through her head as she went through more than 10 surgeries to save her leg.
As a kid, Allie was always trying new sports until one stuck.
"She said I want to try track and she tried track and excelled at it," Allie's dad, Russ Mazur, said.
And boy did she ever excel at it. Allie ran for Lancaster in high school and was a team captain and helped break the school record in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200. She then became a Division I athlete and ran for the University at Buffalo. So being a runner, shin splints were something she was used to. But eventually those turned into a stress fracture, which led to something much worse.
She had a metal rod put inside her tibia to help with the stress fractures which can be common with athletes. But Allie developed an infection that required emergency surgery as she came in for what she thought was going to be a routine checkup.
"That was very scary, because at that point I wasn't just worried about her leg, I was worried about her life," Allie's mom, Terri Mazur said.
Through surgeries to remove the infected tissue, Allie lost five and a half inches of bone in her leg. She then had to wear an external fixator, a device to help support her body weight and help her grow back the bone in her leg.
"As a parent to see your child in something that kind of looks Frankenstein-ish," Terri Mazur explained. "You didn't really absorb it, so I couldn't wait to see it off."
It wasn't just tough for Allie physically, but emotionally as well.
"The stares I would get like no one could relate so was just alone. I didn't really have anyone to talk to and then I found him," Allie said.
Him being Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller.
Allie was scrolling through her Instagram one night and saw Miller post a story about his journey back from a gruesome injury during a game against the Saints in 2017. Miller also almost had his leg amputated, but doctors were able to save it and as a result he also had to wear a fixator.
"I reached out and told him a brief story of what happened and right away he was supportive," Allie explained.
And it just so happened the Bills were playing the Bears at New Era Field this year, where a surprise was waiting for Allie.
"My mom told me he couldn't come which I believed because he wasn't playing," Allie said.
Miller is on injured reserve but made the trip to Buffalo. The Bills and Bears came together and made it so Allie and Zach could meet.
"It was just an emotional day realizing it's been a year."
A year since Allie had her fixator put on.
"I was proud of myself standing on the field and seeing these athletes. I felt like an athlete again," Allie explained.
The week before Thanksgiving, Allie took the next step in her recovery. She had her fixator removed.
This whole experience has changed her in so many ways. One of which is her major. She decided to pursue nursing and has even shadowed her surgeon, Dr. Evgeny Dyskin.