Disabled Woman Without Arms Goes for Taekwondo Black Belt
Post date: Feb 1, 2011 8:12:16 AM
An amazing story of how one woman defied the odds to achieve her martial arts dream.
When Sheila Radziewicz was born without arms or kneecaps, doctors said it was doubtful whether she would live or not and she would certainly never walk. Now with an extraordinary amount of determination and courage, the 32-year-old from Massachusetts is not only walking, she's about to get her black belt in taekwondo.
Diagnosed with thrombocytopenia-absent radius, known as TAR syndrome at birth, Radziewicz learned from an early age that she had to be independent if she was going to have the quality of life she craved. Wearing thigh-high leg braces (similar to those worn by Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump), she got through school, left home at 19 and four years later got her driver's license in a specially built car that she drives with her feet.
"I grew up with the phrase, 'the impossible only takes a little longer,'" she told her local newspaper, Salem News. Having discovered taekwondo three years ago, Radziewicz said the sport has helped her deal with the daily stresses of life. "It's nice to have an outlet where you can just kind of empty your mind," she said, adding that the prospect of achieving the much coveted black belt status next month was "really exciting."
Working as a local advocate coordinator for Healing Abuse Working for Change, a charity that helps victims of domestic abuse, Radziewicz never misses training at Bruce McCorry's Martial Arts school. "She is a very motivating person for myself," said the owner, while her instructor Sandra LaRosa added: "She never feels sorry for herself."
It just goes to show that anyone can be happy, successful and lead a fulfilling life. Good luck to Sheila Radziewicz. We salute you!