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2) Where do you live?
3) If comfortable, would you be open to discussing the injury that led to needing a prosthetic?
I was born in Vietnam and was adopted by the Shepherds when I was 20 months old. I lost my legs at 14 months old by a bomb detonated by my parents as a murder/suicide. They were extremely poor and married to other people and felt hopeless in their situation. It killed both of them instantly but somehow, I survived losing both my legs below the knee.
4) What challenges do you face as an amputee? How has being an amputee challenged you in whatever sport you participate in?
I do feel like I have had less challenges than many amputees I know. I’ve only had one surgery for a bone spur which had to be removed when I was 3. I haven’t had a lot of skin issues either. My biggest issue is sweat with CrossFit, and pushing off the wall with my knees in swimming. I also use custom silicone liners which have been life changing for me but very expensive. I am tearing them up in Crossfit more than I did before.
5) What do you look for when purchasing a prosthetic sleeve, sheath or liner? What is most important to you?
The most important thing for me is comfort and fit especially on the end of my stump where the bones come to the end. The first day I wore them I had pain at the end of my sock but the second day I took extra socks and they felt much more comfortable.
6) What is your impression of the Silipos product we sent you?
I actually have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve tried other gel liners that I couldn’t wear at all so I wasn’t expecting to be able to wear the DuraGel™ Pin Liner. The thickness is good since I’m used to wearing silicone liners.
How did it add value to you? What did you like about it?
I liked how it felt against my skin.
7) Would you recommend the DuraGel™ Pin Liner to others? Why?
Yes, I don’t know how much these cost but if it is an affordable alternative to silicone, I would recommend these.
8) What is something that your followers do not know about you, that you find to be very important to your personal lifestyle?
I am pretty open on Instagram but I don’t share a lot about my family and the constant support and role they play in my life. I talk about it some but mostly I like to keep that part private. I also have a strong faith.
9) What keeps you motivated when you are faced with challenges?
Being positive comes natural to me but I always have to remind myself that my sport is not my identity and the most important thing in life are the people you meet and hopefully help along the way. I also journal a lot and try to do creative things like paint when I feel a lot of pressure. Remembering what’s important keeps me grounded.
10) What is one piece of advice you would give to someone in the same situation as you?
I don’t know anyone that has the exact same circumstance that I have, but we all have circumstances in our lives to overcome. Acceptance is a powerful thing. I believe the fact that I accepted and embraced the life I’m living has made a huge difference. I try and be extremely grateful for the life I have and not look back on what I don’t have…like legs.
11) Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most?
I really admire the gymnasts who spoke out in the Olympic sex abuse scandal. Jessica Long has been and great mentor and I consider her another sister along with my other 4.
12) Anything else you’d like to add….?
I love my life. I don’t see being an amputee as a negative. I have the life and family I have because I am an amputee. I’ve had so many opportunities and experiences not in spite of being an amputee- but because it.
Interested in following Haven's story? Be sure to follow her on Instagram- @havenfaithshepherd