WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US // Haven Shepherd 🙌

Haven Shepherd is not your average competitive swimmer. When a suicide bomb left her a double amputee as an infant in Vietnam, her life changed forever. Today, at 16 years old, she walks on prosthetic legs and isn't phased by it for one second. 

I can remember at one of my first able body swim meets (not a para meet, no one is "disabled"), I took off my legs in Lane 8 and then realized I was supposed to be in Lane 1. I had to quickly run on my knees through all the swimmers lined up to compete, to the other side of the blocks. When I was done and went to retrieve my missing parts, there were a set of legs surrounded by a group of young boys, trying to figure out where these legs came from and why they were there. I had a choice that day at 9 years old, how I was going to handle being in a swimsuit with a body that was different than everyone else. I marched right through that crowd (as good as you can march on your knees) smiled at those boys and grabbed my legs. I chose to see how funny it was to see these 11 year old boys dumbfounded. My swimming "career" could have ended that day. We're all different. I don't have legs and this could have made me shy away from pursuing my goals. Instead I've had to learn to not only accept myself the way I am, but embrace it! YOU SHOULD TOO!⠀

Adopted by an American family at only 20 months old, she has lived in Missouri ever since. She began swimming competitively as a child, "swimming just makes me feel free" she says.  Amidst what would be an enormous obstacle for most of us, Haven is a ray of sunshine and a light of positivity and inspiration. She never lets her disability get in the way of her dreams, and working hard toward her goals.

I am HUGE on CHOICE!! I get to choose each day how I feel about my circumstances. I CHOOSE to not be sensitive. I CHOOSE to not be offended. I CHOOSE to laugh at things that come up by being an amputee. I CHOOSE to try and find the good in every situation. When you make those choices you don't have to CHOOSE to be happy.....you just are!!⠀


For your daily dose of inspiration, follow Haven on Instagram or keep an eye out for her on @jolynclothing - she's just become an ambassador for our big sisters in the US, and we can't wait to watch her magic unfold!

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