Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences and director of the Biomechatronics group within MIT's Media Lab, acknowledged this and said, "it is up to us – the scientists, researchers, and the bionics industry at large – to transcend these perceptions and develop artificial limbs that merge more intimately with the human body."
Luckily, with the emergence of new technologies and more thoughtful approaches to crafting prostheses, amputees are now more empowered and inspired to live a life without limits. And Huckaby does exactly that.
Brenna's StoryAn osteosarcoma diagnosis in 2010 did not stop Brenna from becoming a gold Paralympic medalist. After getting her right leg amputated, Huckaby got her first prosthetic leg, moved to Salt Lake City, and began her journey to becoming an established snowboarder. Three years into it, she began to compete while training at Utah's National Ability Center. After three more years, Brenna took a break from competing to welcome the birth of her daughter, Lilah. Two years later, the 21-year-old is now a two-time gold medalist at this year's Paralympic Games in South Korea – winning in both snowboard cross and banked slalom categories.
(Photo courtesy of Swim Daily)
Brenna is the world's first-ever amputee to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. She says in an interview with Swim Daily, “I see it as an opportunity to inspire others. It’s very rare if ever, you see a woman with a disability pose in sexy swimsuits. I want to help change the stigma of disabilities. I want other women, regardless of their body, to know they are powerful and sexy.”By posing for SI, Brenna wishes to inspire and empower women to feel sexy and feel good in their own skin. She promotes the idea that the future is what you make of it regardless of what’s happened in the past.
On Motherhood and Loving her Body
Photographed by James Macari
Brenna says was never comfortable with her body until she had her daughter Lilah. "When I was a teenager I would wear shorts with my swimsuit every time. I would rarely take my prosthetic off in front of other people. I was afraid of what people would think of me because I didn’t think very highly of myself. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I realized my body was more than an object. That was the moment I knew my body was a tool, a strong and forceful tool that takes me from experience to experience. Once I realized this I finally loved my body."Strong is indeed, the new sexy. Brenna is a living testament that no "disability" can hinder her (or anyone, for that matter) from achieving her dreams and living her life to the fullest. She's truly an inspiration for women and differently abled people all over the world.
Watch Brenna's exciting behind-the-scenes experience during her Sports Illustrated shoot.