We are very proud of Marko Cheseto – a great athlete and even greater man! He ran the TCS New York marathon and set a new record for bilateral (double) below knee amputees – 2 hours, 52 minutes, 33 seconds. And that was his first marathon! Then Marko returned home to Orlando and became a U.S. citizen the next day. What an amazing week!
Regas Woods, a congenital bilateral above knee amputee and Paralympic athlete, sent us a photo of him with a pretty incredible new friend. “I met the coolest little famous guy in the airport this morning,” wrote Regas. His name is Zion Harvey, and he’s the first kid to have a bilateral hand transplant. He also has two prosthetic legs. Zion was really excited to meet someone like Regas who excels at competitive sports, even though he has two prosthetic legs. Check out his story below.
Marko Cheseto, a paralympic athlete, recently moved from Alaska to train with us in Orlando. He is thinking of training for a marathon in the near future. Why not? #noboundaries #dreamitdoit
Radley “Rad” Gillis and his friends/family had been praying about this moment ever since his near-fatal motorcycle accident six months ago. As he stood for the first time, Stan told him to take it easy and not be discouraged if he could only take a few steps. His family, standing close by, said “if anyone can do it, it’s Rad.” So what did Rad, a natural athlete who also excels at wrestling, do? He walked back and forth in the parallel bars with the biggest smile on his face; answered prayers for his family and friends, and a blessing for all of us!
Four-year-old Charlie – recently adopted from China and missing both legs above the knee since birth – arrived at POA last month, eager to be fit with his very first set of prosthetic legs. While his check sockets were being fabricated, we introduced him to his new prosthetic “parts.” Charlie was fascinated with the feet and knees, and couldn’t wait to go to the store to pick out some shoes! “Mine,” he declared, as he held a small prosthetic foot to his cheek.
We asked Bella and her family if she could stop by and give Charlie a few pointers. Bella, age 7, was also born in China missing her legs above the knee. Ever since we fit Bella with her first legs when she was 3 years old, she has been unstoppable – running, jumping, playing tag with her siblings – you name it! When she learned that Charlie was also a bilateral congenital amputee, Bella couldn’t wait to meet him! She had never met another child with the same level of amputations before.
As Bella walked into the room, Charlie’s eyes got bigger. He motioned for her to sit down and looked at her legs, her feet, and her “little” hand. “Like me,” he exclaimed, and gave Bella a great big hug. The two quickly formed a close bond. Bella was there for Charlie’s first steps, helped him learn to get up on a chair, and from sitting on the floor to standing. “Bend and lock,” Bella instructed Charlie as he learned to walk in the parallel walks. “Bend Lock,” Charlie repeated.
By the end of the day, Charlie was well on his way to walking independently. That was when he made another connection. Regas Woods, a paralympic athlete who was also born missing both legs above the knee, was across the room discussing some adjustments he wanted to make on his running legs. Regas was wearing long pants so Charlie didn’t know he was an amputee. We invited him over to meet Charlie and said “look, he has two feet and two knees like you!” Charlie excitedly pulled up Regas’ pant legs and hugged him tight. Then he asked if we could take their photo. Charlie was beaming from ear to ear as he posed with his super hero. For the first time in his life he met two people “just like him,” and you could see the incredible instant connection they had. What an amazing day at POA. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful and caring clients who truly make a difference in the lives of others.
Charlie returned home to practice his walking, and his mom reports he is now beginning to walk independently. We have no doubt he’ll be back very soon to be fit with running legs, and Bella promises to be right there to show him how it’s done!
POA clients Scout Bassett (AK amputee), April Holmes (BK amputee) and Regas Woods (bilateral AK amputee) are getting ready to fly! Scout was in town last week for a prosthetic tune-up, Regas will be in this week, and April, who lives in the area, is training hard! We can’t wait to see the results of all their hard work when they represent Team USA at the Paralympic Games in Rio! The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Paralympics will be on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. #POAproud #NoBoundaries #Rio2016
POA clients Scout Basset, April Holmes, and Regas Woods are going to be representing #TeamUSA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in rio de janeiro, Brazil! Marko Cheseto will be there as well, representing his home country of Kenya. We could not be more proud of these world class athletes, and look forward to cheering them on!
Regas Woods, brought up in Dunnellon, a small agricultural area in northern Florida, perpetually defied expectations. Born with a congenital anomaly that prevented the proper growth and development of his legs, the little boy who’s mother was told he would never walk is a paralympic champion with the 2016 paralympic games on his agenda.
When Regas was 2 years old, determined to give him the best chance at a normal life with least amount of limitations, his mother, Deborah, made the difficult decision to amputate both his legs above the knee. She always had faith in his abilities, and with her love and encouragement, Regas learned to walk on prosthetic legs. While in elementary school, known as the kid with the cool legs, Regas had many friends. However, the middle school years were rough. “Kids are cruel,” says Regas. “The worst feeling for a child is to not be accepted by their peers. It
affects their test scores. It affects their attitude towards people. You develop this anger, and it’s not a good feeling.” In high school he attempted to join the track team but was told he could not due to safety concerns. Although disappointed, Regas directed his passion to music instead. He went on to play in the concert, jazz and marching bands – learning various instruments, including the drums and French horn – but his dream of being a track athlete persisted. As a young adult, Regas put his all into achieving his dream. His can-do attitude manifested itself into a passion that ultimately resulted in his transformation from a troubled teenager to the paralympic athlete he is today. He co-founded the Never Say Never Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping kids with limb loss live positive and active lives. The kids inspire him to work and train harder. “No matter how rough it gets, no matter how much pressure life brings, I am using my life as a testimony,” Regas explains. “I want to show how adversity can be overcome with a positive attitude and hard work.” He set his sights on competing in the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has fulfilled that dream! He will be representing the U.S. in the Paralympics!
Currently, Regas fits training in-between working a full-time job and caring for his children. In spite of the time limitations, he has become an international record-holding runner, considered to be the fastest bilateral amputee in the world. He has also medaled in the sport of high jump. “Unfortunately, I need to be a full-time athlete in order for me to break the record and win a title,” Regas explains. “The reason I’m so adamant about doing it is because when I first entered the sport they told me I had to race in wheelchairs – that bilateral above knee amputees do not run. That I couldn’t compete. I need to have this opportunity to fulfill my dream and show those who look up to me that it can be done.” In addition to being an elite track athlete, Regas is a professional stunt bike rider – the first bilateral AK in the world to perform such challenging maneuvers. Woods has made appearances on the Speed TV show “SUPER BIKES” and done some acting in Hollywood. He also enjoys singing and making music. With the 2016 Summer Paralympic games drawing nearer, Regas is looking for sponsors to provide him with the support he needs to prepare and compete. He’s fast, he’s talented, he has a huge heart and passion for life. Regas would make a great addition to anyone’s team! #NoBoundaries
2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, bronze (long jump)
3-time USA National Team Member 2014 U.S. National Championships, gold (100-meter, 200, long jump)
2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Member
Richard Browne won 2 Gold medals and 1 silver at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships held in Doha, Qatar, setting world records in two events. We are excited to be part of Richard’s team, and look forward to getting him ready for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio! Read more about Richard, who became a below knee amputee in 2010, and his triumph over tragedy in the Client Stories section of our website: Richard Browne, BK #NoBoundaries