While this month has been all about the Winter Olympics, there’s another important sports event happening in the coming weeks. The Winter Paralympics is occurring in early March in Pyeongchang. Athletes with physical disabilities will be going head to head in skiing, snowboarding and hockey, to name a few. Brenna Huckaby, 22, is one of them.
Though the event isn’t for another month, there’s been plenty to keep Huckaby busy. The Paralympic snowboarder just became the first amputee to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, and the photos are nothing short of gorgeous.
In her caption, Huckaby writes, “This shoot wasn’t easy (not just physically) but mentally. It’s so so so rare to see women with disabilities in the public view of sexy. I’m so proud to help curve that view and thank you @mj_day For taking a chance on me!”
She brings up a major point about her feature in the issue. While more and more brands are beginning to highlight the importance of being inclusive towards LGBTQ groups and plus-sized models, we also cannot forget the privilege of being able-bodied. Supporting body diversity is not just about advocating for all kinds of shapes and figures, but also those with disabilities.
In an interview with NBC, Huckaby said, “I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 14 with a small chance of survival. When I began chemotherapy, everything was okay, but then my body started taking a turn.” She continued, “I was told there was no other choice but amputation if I wanted to live.”
Despite the life-changing operation, Huckaby hasn’t let it stop her from being active. She discussed the start of her athletic career, “When I was 15, I was invited to the National Ability Center on a rehabilitation ski trip where I learned to snowboard.” Her family moved to Utah, where she joined the U.S. Snowboard team and began competing in championships.
Huckaby isn’t just redefining beauty definitions, she’s also living out a miracle. Several years back, she pulled a Serena Williams and competed in several World Cups pregnant though she was unaware at the time. Huckaby told NBC that she was originally told by doctors that she was infertile as a result of her past chemotherapy. She proved them wrong when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl in 2016.
Huckaby is determined to break records of all types, “The key is to ignore the haters and focus on you and your skills. Be more than what’s out there. Create the new.”