The amputee cheerleader proving 'anything is possible' with her impeccable moves and prosthetic leg
20:30 GMT, 25 October 2012
A college cheerleader who had her left leg amputated before her first birthday, reveals how she overcame her obstacles to become a role model and inspiration to her home town.
Patience Beard, a freshman at the University of Arkansas, was one of five girls in her year chosen to cheer for her college's Spirit Squad, with impeccable moves and a zebra print prosthetic leg.
Recently nominated for their Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award from the Football Writers Association of America, the 18-year-old credits her success to her parents, for treating her as
if she could do anything.
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Three cheers: Patience Beard, 18, who had her left leg amputated before her first birthday, reveals how she overcame her obstacles to achieve her dream of becoming a cheerleader
Born with a severe case of proximal femoral focal deficiency, a non-hereditary disease of the hip and femur bone that leaves one leg shorter than the other, Miss Beard needed amputation of her left leg
before her first birthday.
She then had another surgery in third grade, leaving her in a full body cast for eight months.
But her parents, undeterred, encouraged her to ride a bike, play with other children, and most importantly, to try gymnastics.
'They’ve always pushed me to do the best I can do and never let me give excuses ever,' she told Today.
'My parents always pushed me to do the best I can do, and never let me give excuses, ever'
When Miss Beard sent in a full-length
photograph attached to her application for the University's 24-member
Razorback-supporting squad, director Jean Nail, said she was surprised, but also excited.
Looking at her audition DVD, Ms Nail knew she would be able to compete
in live tryouts, but says she didn't give her any special treatment when
it came to picking the final team.
Inspiring: The freshman at the
University of Arkansas was one of five girls in her year chosen to
cheer for her college's Spirit Squad, showing off her impeccable moves and a zebra
print prosthetic leg
Undeterred: Miss Beard was born with a non-hereditary disease of the hip and femur bone that leaves one leg shorter than the other, and needed amputation of her left leg before her first birthday
'She’s a member of the squad. We expect the same from her that we expect of everyone else. No more, no less,' said Ms Nail.
Miss Beard, who has cheered competitively in her home town of Texarkana, Texas, since seventh grade, said it was her dream to be a college cheerleader.
Mother Amber Lanning, a Razorback supporter said she is both impressed by Miss Beard and appreciative of her role-model influence on children.
'They are able to witness for themselves that anything is possible,' the mother said.
Miss Beard added: 'It’s always a challenge, always pushing yourself. Everyone goes through obstacles. The people who feel good about themselves are the ones who go for their dreams.'
VIDEO: Patience's inspiring story has been recorded by 4029 networks