University of Arkansas cheerleader doesn't let prosthetic leg slow her down
POSTED: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:30am
UPDATED: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 5:34am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — One Arkansas Razorback cheerleader sports red and white, just like every other Hog fan, but her touch of zebra print stands out in the squad.
"I've always dreamed of this but never actually thought I'd be here doing what I've always wanted to do. I can't even put into words how exciting and amazing this year has been already," said University of Arkansas freshman Patience Beard.
Rooting on her beloved Razorbacks and flipping down the sidelines, she is stunting just like the rest.
"They have just treated me like I'm a normal person, which is important for me."
But Patience has overcome the odds to cheer on the squad.
"Patience is wonderful, kind, sweet spirited young lady, highly energetic, extremely hard working and very talented," said Jean Nail, Director of UA Spirit Squad.
"I was born with Proximal Focal Femoral Disorder, which is just where my left femur bone is shorter than my right. I had my leg amputated when I was somewhere from 7 to 9 months old. I got my first prosthetic leg when I was 14 months old... This is just how I've always been, this is my normal."
She sports a zebra prosthetic, which reflects her bold personality.
"She doesn't quit, she doesn't stop, she wants something, she's going after it, which I think is huge," said Cheer Coach Kraig Jimenez.
"She works really, really hard to get where she is and do what she does," said Patience's cheer partner Kevin Ellstrand.
"Sometimes when you see Patience, it just gives you that little extra edge you need to try it one more time," said Nail.
At a young age, her parents instilled courage to chase her dreams.
"They got me to where I am today, you know, they gave me my confidence growing up, they didn't treat me any differently and they are the ones that gave me my drive. They've always pushed me to do the best I can do and never let me give excuses, ever."
Now, Patience is inspiring others. She is proving that with hard work and perseverance, dreams do come true.
"I just hope that everyone that is going through something like me, or has been, that they just know that they can do whatever they want and anything that they set their mind to they can do it."