Track and Field
“There will always be something in life that tries to hold us back or stop us from being great. But I refuse to EVER let anyone tell me I can’t do something.”
Runner. Sprinter. Motivational Speaker. Mentor. President & Founder of Limb-it-less Creations Inc. Paralympian.
For most 11-year old’s, life is about family, friends and fitting in at school. As part of a busy family of nine, this was certainly true for the outgoing and social Femita Ayanbeku. But her typical pre-teen challenges would soon be forgotten when a major car accident would almost claim her life.
Femita was traveling in the backseat of a station wagon, when the driver lost control of the vehicle. She was ejected from the car. At the scene, Femita stopped breathing. Later, while at the hospital, doctors determined that her leg was severely damaged and risked cutting circulation off throughout the rest of her body. Within days, a decision had to be made - her leg or her life. Days after waking up in the hospital, Ayanbeku learned her leg had been amputated.
"Being 11 years old, I didn’t know what to think, I didn’t know how to feel. The only thing I could think about was ‘what are my friends going to think?’ What’s everybody going to think when I go back to school and now, I’m missing a piece of my body?"
But those thoughts didn’t last long. She saw her parent’s concern and worry so Femita was determined to be positive. Rehabilitation began almost immediately. Within two months, she was back at school. She progressed from a wheelchair to a prosthesis and continued living her life. Femita enjoyed playing basketball in high school, but her non-sport prosthesis caused discomfort. It would be years before she tried something different.
While attending an Össur mobility clinic designed for amputees, Femita had an opportunity to try a prosthetic running blade. For that one day, she felt renewed.
“It felt so natural. I didn’t want to take it off!"
She started a non-profit called ‘Limb-it-less Creations’ to support other amputees and was later fitted with her own Össur running blade. Her love affair with running began with an introduction to another Paralympian, Jerome Singleton, and the former longtime track coach at Northeastern University, Sherman Hart.
“Once I put the blade on, I fell in love. I always tell people, when I run, I feel like I have 2 feet again.”
Her talent was evident. But it was her work ethic that prompted her coach to insist she run competitively. Femita continued training and earned her place on Team USA. Within six months, she became the US national champion in the 100m and went on to represent the United States at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and again at the 2017 World Championships. Most recently, she claimed the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championship in Dubai. Femita is set to continue competing with pride on her Össur Cheetah Xtreme.
Below the Knee