Tatsiana Khvitsko who is now 24, was born with no legs and only four fingers after being exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine as an unborn baby.Unfortunately for her, like many children born with deformities in the wake of the 1986 explosion, her parents abandoned her at an orphanage where she learned to walk on her knees.Tatsiana continued to defy the odds by becoming a competitive runner, cross-fit athlete and bodybuilder with thousands of adoring fans on social media.
Unbeknown to her, Tatsiana’s biological mother adopted her when she was 4 years old and she didn’t know this until she was 13. A team of American doctors visiting Belarus discovered Tatsiana as a six-year-old and flew her to Kansas City where she was fitted with new prosthetics which were not available in Belarus. She would then spend the school year in Belarus and in the summer she would travel the the 5,000 miles to America alone to receive treatment.
In 2008 Tatsiana moved to Kansas City, USA permanently and enrolled in university. A Florida company gave her a pair of running “blades” and she was soon competing in 5k and 10k races. Tatsiana has since taken up cross fit and bodybuilding, competing in her first competition.
She says “Sometimes I feel frustrated because I have to take time to do the exercises. I have to try to figure out how to do the moves when the able-bodies are doing the workout fine. But I’m exploring my disability and realising what I can and can’t do. At times I do wish I was different. I’m athletic but I’m very girly, I love makeup and I love dressing up. I love to go out with my girlfriends shopping or to a party. Sometimes I wish I had legs to wear heels. But at the same time I don’t know if I had legs if I would be as passionate as I am. I don’t think I would be as grateful as I am today.”
Tatsiana is an incredible human being and a great example to anyone who wants to go beyond what they were “given” and proof that anything is possible. Next time you decide to skip gym, remember what this lady has achieved despite the odds being stacked against her. What an amazing lady.