Femita had an accident at age 11 which resulted in part of her right leg being amputated. Her altered body caused her to develop a negative body image for much of her childhood but she didn’t internalize the social stigma she experienced nor allowed her disability to define or stop her from pursuing her goals. Today, 25 year old Femita is a graduate, Founder of non-profit organization Limb-it-less Creations Incorporated, and 2016 US gold national medalist for 100M after just 6 months of training! Femita oozes strength of mind! read on as we connect with her.
So who is Femita?
My name is Femita Ayanbeku, and I am the child of a full Haitian woman named Wendy Lorquet and a full Nigerian man named Marcus Ayanbeku. I grew up with 5 sisters and 1 brother, all of us in the same house. When I was 11 years old I was in a car accident. My sister (just one of them) and I were ejected out of the car on the highway. I stopped breathing shortly after because my leg was so damaged it cut the circulation off to the rest of my body which resulted in me having to get my right leg below the knee, amputated. I am 25 years old now and I live in the Boston, Ma area, on the outskirts of Boston. I never played sports as a child, but my freshman year of high school I played basketball for a few months and then stopped because it was too painful on my leg. I graduated from college at the age of 22 and started a non-profit organization called Limb-it-less Creations Incorporated. Then at the age of 23 I received a running blade that was donated to me and on that day I fell in love with running.
What got you into sport initially?
My running blade was donated to me from an organization called the Challenged Athletes Foundation and from that day on running has been my passion.
What do you do to stay in shape?
I train 4-5 days a week on the track and 3-4 days in the gym.
How do you keep motivated to exercise?
I think people should love the way they look. After my accident I spent so much time worried about what people would think to see a girl with a fake leg (prosthesis). But as I got older I realized the most important person I have to impress is myself. I take pride in my body and I do what it takes to keep it looking good because if you look good you feel good. I can just be speaking for myself when I say that but I truly believe it.
I am no longer so insecure about my prosthesis and I’m happy because I am confident with how I look.
When people look at me now, I enjoy the fact that they see my leg because they also see my body and they have to say, even though she has one leg she is still able to keep up with herself. I never wanted to be that girl that people feel bad for, I love to do so much because I don’t want anyone to be able to say I can’t do something because I only have one foot.
All athletes have days when they don’t feel like training. How do you overcome this?
I am working on being the best that I can be and my coach told me that our hardest days are the days that make us great. If you can get through your hardest day by still doing your workout, then the easy days will be pure fun. I push myself through those days because I know they will only make me better, and I am working on being the best.
What were your life goals when you were younger, and how have they changed throughout the course of your life?
My life goal ever since I was 11 was to help people like me, get through what I went through (which is why started my organization). But now that I am a member of Team USA I know that I can do more than just help people like me. I have been able to inspire and motivate all types of people and that has put me on a different path. I thought I could motivate and inspire other amputees to understand that life after amputation can still be great. But now I know that it is not just amputees that are motivated when they see me and I want to continue to help inspire and motivate people to understand that life is going to get tough sometimes, but there is ALWAYS a way to find happiness, and for me it is track. I can use track to do it all; so my goal hasn’t changed it has just gotten bigger.
How do you think the loss of your leg has affected you psychologically and socially?
I think socially when I first lost my leg I was very insecure. I did not wear shorts or skirts that showed my prosthesis until I was 18 years old. I was very scared about the reactions and stares from people that I would come across. I think psychologically it has made me stronger and more open minded. When I was growing up I had to deal with many people that were not accepting of my situation and some people that were even scared to be next to me. I have learned so much that now the stares don’t bother me. I understand that this is not something people see everyday. But one thing I love is when people ask me questions. I would rather someone come up to me and ask me a question than to just be stared at from across the room. It helps me understand what people are thinking when they look at me and it gives me a chance to inform people about me, my situation and the amputee community.
What does being a 100m National Champion mean to you?
The National title is motivating and inspiring for me because I got this title after 6 months of training. I have been running track professionally for about a year and a half now and I know I am on my way to getting that World title. So this National title just reminds me that I am on the right track.
What might we catch you doing on your days off?
You might catch me sleeping lol or hanging out with my family. I like to catch up with my friends every now and then but everyone has busy lives so it honestly depends on the day and time. And I honestly don’t even have a lot of days off.hat advice would you give to a young woman who wants to become a Paralympic Athlete?
What advice would you give to a young woman who wants to become a Paralympic Athlete?
I would advise her to DO IT! Work hard, stay committed, and DO IT! Your dreams are in your head, set some goals and make them a reality. I truly believe there is nothing in this world that I want, that I cannot have. All I have to do is work for it and do what needs to be done, and I can have and be whatever I want.
Connect with Femita HERE