I am Portuguese born and raised, with French and Spanish family background. I moved to Canada when I was 20. I am an accountant by profession.
When I was twelve, I was involved in a serious car accident that nearly cost my life but at the same time it came as a blessing in disguise. After seven months in the hospital, I ended up having to get my left leg amputated below the knee.
The first few years were difficult. I got depressed, thought I was useless, my self-esteem was very low, became very sedentary and I started to put on weight. Having people telling me that my body and my performance would never be the same didn’t help either. One thing they were right though, I was never going to be the same… in fact I became better.
Due to my weight gain and my uneven walk, I started to have back problems. I took on swimming as means to low impact exercise to help lose weight and help with the back issues. I started to go through fitness magazines for exercises I could do, started to work with weights…and in 2000 I did my very first natural bodybuilding competition. It made me feel so good that I worked hard and aimed for the highest levels, and in 2006 I became the first Canadian woman to compete in Natural Bodybuilding with a so-called disability and won Overall and Pro-Card against fully-abled athletes. I was featured in a few fitness magazines, the CBC show “Moving On” and some motorcycle magazines.
Since then I have moved on from bodybuilding and been involved in x-treme sports like motorcycle racing, downhill mountain biking, snowboarding (I am a ski patroller) white water kayaking, recently into dirt biking and stand up jet skiing…. I take on activities as a challenge to myself, a test to the leg, and so far there have not been much disappointments. I found that sports made me a stronger person, not only physically but also mentally
The hardest of them all was accepting myself for who I am and what I have become, accept this so called ‘disability’…. I believe the only obstacles are the ones you put upon yourself, a person can do anything that puts their mind up to, just give it a try. I believe that if I can do it…so can anyone else.
Don’t give up… stay strong and keep smiling!
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