Amputee Cheerleader Takes Self-Acceptance to New Heights

Patience Beard only has one leg. But that was never going to stop her. Patience is a scholarship student from the University of Arkansas, and is a Division 1 Cheerleader. Having lost her leg as an infant, Patience has never known life without a prosthetic.

She admits to wanting to be like everyone else when she was younger, but her supportive family helped her realize that she has the power to set her own standards of normalcy and to not ever feel ashamed for being different.

"My brother brought me in for show-and tell one year," said Patience. "The kids were asking me why I was like that and I just said, "My mom says I'm special! I was made this way.'"

Patience doesn't let her leg stop her from participating in cheerleading. She dances all the moves everyone else does, she just has a zebra prosthetic leg to help, giving her the foundation she needs to succeed and some major style points. "Everyone wants to be normal," said Patience. "But everyone has to set their own standard of what normal is."

The other girls on her team have body image issues as well, and Patience is a great role model for them. "Every single day you can wake up and say I don't like that about myself." Patience says, approaching it in her usual, positive style. "The fact is, you can't change it, so own it." And she does, very well.

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