By Alyce Collins
THIS woman was born WITHOUT A LEG and she spent years too afraid to work out in front of others because of her disability, until discovering BOXING and establishing a genuine talent for the sport which has seen her confidence soar.
Operations director, Amy Bream (27) from Pennsylvania, USA, was born with a proximal focal femoral deficiency (PFFD), meaning she was born without a right leg. Her parents had no idea that their daughter had the deficiency and were incredibly shocked when Amy was born.
Throughout her childhood, Amy’s parents encouraged her not to be deterred by her limb deficiency and she was already learning to walk in her first prosthetic leg at just a year old. From a young age, Amy learnt not to see her prosthetic as a hinderance and refused to see it as an excuse not to achieve something.
Unfortunately, as Amy grew older, she became more self-conscious of her body which led her to be reluctant to train in public. During school, Amy hated PE classes, as she assumed she wouldn’t be very good.
Amy’s lack of self-confidence affected how she interacted with men because she assumed most of them wouldn’t find her attractive due to her limb deficiency. Amy shied away from the gym and she didn’t want to ask her physiotherapist about different kind of prosthetics designed for sports as she couldn’t see beyond her disability.
After moving to Nashville in 2014, one of Amy’s friends introduced her to TITLE Boxing, which focuses on cardio boxing and kickboxing classes. Her nerves soon transformed to joy when she learnt that she could excel at the sport and she started working with a personal trainer.
Kickboxing has enabled Amy to embrace her body and her confidence has only grown since. Amy hopes to show others with limb deficiencies that having a prosthetic doesn’t keep them from living an active lifestyle, and that it shouldn’t have an impact on their confidence.
“I was born without the majority of my right leg because of PFFD,” said Amy.
“My parents didn’t have a clue about the deficiency, and I think it’s safe to say they were pretty shocked the day I was born.
“My parents were always so encouraging and supportive so I’ve never actually cared about why I was born like this, as strange as that may sound. I was raised to believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t have to see my leg as a mistake, rather I can see it as an opportunity.
“My family never let me use my prosthesis as an excuse to not try things. But as I got older, I became more self-conscious of my body and never wanted to try anything physically active in public.
“I’ve always been stubborn, so I didn’t let my prosthesis get in the way of living my life, but I shied away from the gym or any sort of sport.
“It definitely made me self-conscious when it came to sports and organised group activities. PE classes were my living nightmare in school. It also made me self-conscious when it came to relationships and how men viewed me – I had a hard time believing that men would find me attractive.
“I refused physical therapy when I was young, and I never really tried out for any sports. I assumed I wouldn’t be very good before even trying.
“I still had fun and stayed active outside and with friends, but I didn’t ask my prosthetist about how to use a running leg or improve my activity level through different types of prosthetic equipment.”
A few months after relocating in 2014, one of Amy’s friends wanted her to become more comfortable working out in public and introduced her to the franchise, TITLE Boxing. Her initial fears dissolved almost immediately, and Amy has continuously progressed since.
Amy hopes to encourage others to see their prosthetics as an opportunity rather than something which holds them back.
“I had slowly started to get more comfortable with working out in public, and a friend told me about TITLE Boxing a few years ago. I immediately fell in love,” said Amy.
“It was one of the first workouts where I felt like I could participate without feeling like I was adjusting every single movement. Obviously, my body works a bit differently than most people in class, but it was a way for me to get intense cardio and gain body strength without constantly adjusting the workout since it’s mostly bodyweight exercises rather than running.
“It’s also different to doing a team sport. I wasn’t afraid of letting anyone down because I couldn’t keep up. When I box, it’s just me facing off with a bag or my trainer.
“It’s definitely physically exhausting and has required me to gain a lot of coordination, balance and strength which I’ve never had before. One of the hardest things is learning to trust my prosthesis and use it to balance when I kick with my real leg.
“It’s obviously strengthened me physically, but it’s also given me lots of self-confidence. Kickboxing makes me feel like I’m athletic, even though I still have to adjust technique and will obviously look different than someone with two limbs.
“I’ve started some personal training sessions thinking that I’d never physically be able to accomplish something because of my leg, and my trainer helps show me otherwise. It’s an incredible feeling.
“Having a prosthesis doesn’t have to keep you from trying new things, staying active, and living life to the fullest. Especially considering technological advancements these days, there is very little you can’t do, as long as you are determined and willing to keep trying when it’s hard.
“Always be genuine, humble, and kind, no matter how many limbs you have.”
To see more, visit https://www.instagram.com/onelegtostandon/