Beauty Always Finds A Way and If you’re an amputee or are related to an amputee, you know that disability doesn’t mean inability. Some of the most physically capable, active, artistic and inspirational people are individuals with limb differences.
Today we wanted to share a few stories of amputees who are overcoming their challenges, and using their examples to inspire others around the world. Although amputations come with their own unique set of difficulties, these amputees never let anything get in the way of their goals.
Travis Mills was an army Staff Sergeant on his third deployment. While on foot patrol one day, an IED exploded that caused his right arm, right leg, left wrist and a portion of his left leg to be disintegrated. He woke up four days later as a quadruple amputee. Mills told his wife to leave him, but she stayed by his side the entire time. After 19 months of grueling rehabilitation, he learned to walk, and live again. Now Mills is a living inspiration to thousands of people across the country. He goes mountain biking, snowboarding, skydiving and does plenty of other extreme sports. On top of that, Mills recently bought a property that he’s transforming into a camp to help other wounded veterans.
Staff Sergeant Mills has also written a book, “Tough as They Come,” that talks about how he overcomes his struggles, and continues to live a purpose-filled life. Mills is quoted saying, “I’m able to inspire and change people. I don’t do it by saying, ‘You think you have it bad? Then look at me.’ I’ll never play that card.”
DJ is a college student who grew up with a prosthetic leg. “You know, I’ve never really known the difference between having a prosthetic leg and just being a normal kid, because I’ve had it my whole life,” DJ said. When he was a child, DJ always wanted to play sports, and he soon decided that he was not going to let his limb difference stop him from doing what he loved. When he got to high school, DJ quickly became a star player on the varsity golf and basketball teams. Later, he was made starting quarterback on his football team!
Earlier this year, DJ’s story received the most votes for the WBIR10 News contest, which meant that his story would be shared with millions of viewers in a 30-second Super Bowl ad! It was something that DJ says was a dream come true. DJ Vanderwerf’s life is a constant reminder that anything is possible.
Every year, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) hosts a kids’ camp for children with amputations or missing limbs. The coaches of the camp are all WWAST members themselves, and serve as mentors to the children for the week. The camp is something that is loved by everyone involved, as it lets kids look up to positive role models who are also amputees, and it gives the WWAST players an opportunity to serve their community. The camp teaches children that “Life without a Limb is Limitless!” Michelle Williams, a mother of a kids’ camp attendee said, “I truly do not think I will ever be able to tell you how much the WWAST Kids Camp week meant to Bryce and to me. I watched my son become a much stronger person, with a more can-do attitude than he had before. You created lifetime friends and memories in one week!”
With thousands of other similar stories of people overcoming the challenges presented by having missing limbs, it’s easy to see that life without a limb can be limitless!