NEW YORK -- Kristofer Robinson knew he was getting a new prosthetic leg from the One Step Ahead Foundation sometime this week. But little did he know all that his trip to the Big Apple had in store for him.
For the second day of HOPE Week, six Yankees players and manager Joe Girardi surprised One Step Ahead founder Amy Palmiero-Winters and a group of young athletes, including the 9-year-old Robinson, at the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon. Robinson will be getting a new prosthetic leg on Wednesday.
"Life is about giving people hope. I've always said without hope, we have nothing. That's what Hope Week is all about," Girardi said. "To see a little boy, he's going to be able to get a new leg tomorrow. Really, that's special."
Palmiero-Winters, 43, founded the nonprofit foundation in 2010 to provide opportunities to children with disabilities to participate in athletics, with a specific focus on those with limb losses. One Step Ahead also supplies young people around the world suffering with limb difference with prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs.
The foundation's mission is personal for Palmiero-Winters, who received a prosthetic leg after undergoing 27 surgeries in three years in an unsuccessful attempt to save her lower left leg, which she injured in a motorcycle crash at age 21.
She ran her first marathon seven years after receiving her prosthetic, in 2006, and became the first amputee to qualify for the U.S. Track and Field National Team. In 2009, she completed an ultramarathon in Arizona, where she ran 130 miles in 24 hours.
Palmiero-Winters won the Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States in 2009, and she won a ESPY award in '10 as the year's top female athlete with a disability.
"She's thriving, doing stuff that people I'm sure didn't think were possible," Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury said. "She's someone who a lot of people can look up to."
The Yankees, Palmiero-Winters and the young athletes of One Step Ahead toured the Hall of Fame and Museum before eating lunch on the Armory Track. When they finished eating, the Yankees relayed a message on the video board to Palmiero-Winters from former Yankee Jim Abbott, who famously pitched a no-hitter with one hand as a member of the 1993 team.
"I hope that you continue inspiring people," Abbot said. "I hope you keep showing us all that is possible in this world."
The young athletes attended Tuesday night's game against the Royals, and Palmiero-Winters threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.