Beautifully born on the 29th January, 1984 to David and Derdre, this wonderful girl grew up to be a strong swimmer, with each swimming events at her teenage days, she lit up the pool, setting multiple national age group records in both medley events and dominating many of her races. At age 17, a gruesome event took place that seemed to change the course of this promising swimmer, while just a street from her swimming pool training centre, a careless driver exiting a parking lot ran directly into her left leg. She hit the floor instantly screaming, “I’ve lost my leg, I’ve lost my leg!” Her team mates rushed to help her. Traffic snarled and the whole scene was a total horrible chaos. For days, the doctors attempted to save her leg. But finally had to amputate it through the left knee and inserted a titanium rod into her broken femur. Was that the end of her dreams? Never! Believe it or not this ‘never-giving-up, no boundaries, no limit’ girl got up the very next day after the amputation and went to the pool to train. She said, “I just want to get back to life again – swimming four hours a day – and I want to be able to walk again so that I would be able to do things by myself”. By the time her team mates visited the hospital to consol and sympathies with her, they were all shocked to learn that she was already up and going. It wasn’t easy but she never gave up. Several times, she nearly fainted trying to walk the streets with one leg. Indeed, with much toil and sheer determination, she decided to compete at the Manchester games both as an able bodied and disables competitor just to prove it could be done. She eventually achieved her goal, swimming into a creditable 8th place in the able bodied 800m freestyle and winning gold in the 50m and 100m elite athletes with disability (EAD) events. Despite losing her leg, her goal was never lost! Her name is Natalie Du Toit, and she is one of the world’s fastest distance swimmers, and the only amputee to qualify for the Olympic Games. Less than two years after the accident, she qualified for the finals of the 800 meter freestyle at the 2002 Common Wealth Games, marking the first time an amputee in the modern era had raced in the finals of an able-bodied international swimming competition. Today, when she is not training, she’s studying sport management. She’s also doing motivational speaking because she’s become one of South Africa’s best-known stories and a source of inspiration to the country. Although her body and events may have changed, her goals haven’t! Natalie Du Toit once said; “I have always had a dream to take part in an Olympic Games, and losing my legs didn’t change anything”. I don’t know what you may be facing now, but I want you to know that whatever challenging situation you may find yourself in now, it won’t last! If this wonderful girl can succeed with one leg, you can also succeed even better. I see you succeeding.
Till next time. Remain success-full.
Article written By Kay Success (Mr Motivator)