Krystal Cantu, a 25-year-old Texan and member of Ballistic CrossFit, was just a few days away from participating in a competition last summer when she and her boyfriend got into a car accident that forced her to amputate her right arm. Up until that day, CrossFit had been Krystal’s outlet for de-stressing and building confidence, and she wasn’t about to give up such a big lifeline. Only one month after the accident, Krystal was back to CrossFit and working with a coach. Three months later, she was competing in the Working Wounded Games. Now, she can lift heavier weights than she did before her accident and looks forward to competing as an Adaptive CrossFit Athlete. She’s also inspired countless fans to drop the excuses and work towards their goals.
She told Refinery 29, “I went back because I didn’t die … and my pride and competitive nature didn’t die, either. I’m a human, I’m scared of a lot of things — lightning storms, the world ending, and flying in planes — but, I’ve never been scared to go after something I love.”
Keep reading »
See that gorgeous lady starring in one of the new spring/summer Diesel ads? That’s a New York fashion blogger named Jillian Mercado. She’s been a fixture in the fashion industry for years, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, working at magazines like Allure, and never letting her muscular dystrophy — or the wheelchair it requires her to use — slow her down. When Diesel artistic director Nicola Formichetti was casting for the brand’s new campaign, which is focused on community and connection, Mercado’s bold style and attitude was a perfect fit, and the response to her ads has been great. “You don’t have to be a conventional model type to represent a brand,” Formichetti told Women’s Wear Daily. I love that companies are finally, finally starting to get this. [Jezebel]
Connie Feda wanted to create an educational, engaging, and relatable doll for her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Down syndrome. With the goal of capturing “the beauty, vivaciousness and spunk of kids with Down Syndrome,” Connie created Ellie, a doll with Hannah’s almond-shaped eyes and button nose. She soon realized that other kids could benefit from a doll that looked more like them, so she created Dolls For Downs, a new line of dolls for children with Down syndrome. Keep reading »
Sue Austin is a performance and installation artist based in the UK. She has been wheelchair-bound since 1996, and dedicated her artistic work to “finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user.” Most recently this goal has led her to team with scientists and diving experts to create a self-propelled underwater wheelchair. Using fins and a propeller, Austin is able to steer the machine with her feet and navigate a beautiful underwater world that was previously off-limits. Seeing her move through the water with ease and grace is both unexpected and powerful. Check out the video to see for yourself. [YouTube via Smithsonian]
If you’ve not previously encountered Aimee Mullins, she’s a pretty extraordinary woman. Born without fibulae, she had her legs amputated below the knee as a toddler. She went on to become a track and field star, a model and muse for designer Alexander McQueen, and performed in artist Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster 3″ movie. In a recent interview, she discusses McQueen’s death, how she “uses her birth-given disability to make others see what is possible when they rethink their notions of beauty and opportunity,” and what makes her a lucky girl. [Of the Minute] Keep reading »