Maya is a 16-year-old who won’t let anything get in the way of her living life to the fullest. Whether it’s gymnastics, wheelchair basketball, or biking, Maya is in her element when she is moving her body. She’s an optimist and an inspiration for all.

Her story:  “From the age of 5 I had been competing in gymnastics. So, at the age of 9 when my knee was in pain and my leg was a little swollen, I just assumed it was an insignificant injury that I had gotten while doing gymnastics. At a certain point, my leg was causing me too much pain to just ignore. So my parents brought me to the doctor who diagnosed me with osteosarcoma. Over a period of eight months I underwent chemotherapy and a rotationplasty amputation. I was devastated to lose my leg because no one knew if I would be able to continue gymnastics, but I was driven to do so. After I completed treatment, I spent a year relearning to walk and run so that I could resume gymnastics. By age 11, I was able to get back on the team and compete with able-bodied peers. I even managed to place in several events at the state championships.

Unfortunately, at the age of 13, I tore my medial meniscus due to overcompensating for my amputated leg. So I had to work my way back to being fit. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with May-Thurners syndrome which meant that my leg was constantly swollen and I could not wear my prosthetic leg. After a stent was placed in my iliac vein, I started to wear my leg again, but I started losing weight, prompting an evaluation for cancer recurrence. Fortunately, there was no sign of cancer, but I was diagnosed with celiac disease. By the time I was able to start a proper diet, I had already lost fat and muscle, causing my prosthetic to no longer fit. Once I began a gluten-free diet and started feeling better again, I began to struggle with athletics. I went through some evaluations and was told that my decrease in activity combined with my weight loss caused me to become de-conditioned.”

Her Goal: “I would like to be able to remain fit and active so that I can stay healthy and reduce my chance of recurrence.”

Personal Motto: “If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.”

To learn more about Maya, click here.