The difficulties and challenges we run into as we try to design a purposeful and fulfilling life can seem insurmountable at times. A bit of perspective can remind us that we have everything we need and nothing is impossible.
Natalie du Toit
It’s stories like Natalie’s that challenge every limitation we believe exists in our lives. Natalie was an internationally-ranked swimmer in South Africa at the tender age of 14. Just three years down her road to Olympic fame, she was hit by a car while riding her scooter back to school from swim practice. She lost her left leg at the knee.
This experience would devastate most of us, and most of us aren’t competitive athletes. Natalie got right back in the pool without half of her leg and was the first physically challenged athlete to qualify for finals in a regular event (the 800-meter freestyle) at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The very next year she won gold, again in the 800-meter freestyle, at the All-Africa Games.
Natalie overcame her obstacles in grand fashion, opting to swim without a prosthetic leg, breaking through the perceived mental and physical barriers for thousands of fans. She went on to compete as one of only two Paralympians at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, being the first amputee to qualify for the Olympics, and was the first physically challenged athlete to carry a country’s flag in the opening ceremonies.
“Be everything you want to be.”
– Natalie du Toit