CARTHAGE, MO - 9-year old Haven Shepherd from Carthage, MO embarked on a life changing moment Wednesday. Haven competed for the first time on her new running legs, which were paid for with a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
9-year-old Haven Shepherd tries out her new "running legs"
Vietnamese girl loses legs in family suicide attempt before being adopted by Carthage family
Haven, originally from Vietnam, was adopted by the Shepherd family when she was just 19 months old. Haven’s parents were having an affair and she was born out of wedlock. So ashamed of their sin, and when Haven was just over a year old, her parents strapped bombs to themselves and held each other with their baby girl in their arms, killing themselves. Haven survived the blasts, but lost both her legs below-the-knees making her a bi-lateral below the knee amputee.
Last year, through a grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Haven received her first pair of running legs and on Wednesday (May 9) she is preparing to use them for the first time in competition at her Elementary School track meet. In this same meet two years ago, Haven fell using her prosthetics and now is ready to get back on the track with new running legs.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), helps individuals with physical challenges get involved and stay involved in sports. CAF distributed funds to 1,106 individual grant recipients in 27 countries, as part of its Access for Athletes Program. The 2012 funding – totaling $1.7 million – will pay for adaptive equipment (such as handcycles, sports chairs and prosthetics), training and coaching, and competition expenses that will enable physically challenged athletes of all ages and abilities take part in life-affirming sports.
Haven has also been chosen to be featured on stage at the Challenged Athletes Foundation Heroes, Heart and Hope gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC on June 13th, alongside athletes like Anthony Robles, the 2011 NCAA wrestling champion, who beat his able-bodied collegiate competitors despite the fact he only has one leg.