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Well -- top -- this week's special series on overcoming obstacles with an inspiring young woman.
Bonnie Saint John my graduated from Harvard University.
She's a Rhodes scholar obviously a bright lady she's an author she's worked as an economic advisor to President Bill Clinton and that's not all she's accomplished.
But it's not been easy to get where she is today.
She had to overcome some serious obstacles like we've been looking at this week early on her life so check out -- story.
-- -- with one of my legs shorter than the other the growth was stunted.
So they amputated my -- when I was five years old if they didn't amputate my -- probably would have been sticking out where my knee is fine now.
It was hard being in the hospital when I was so young and I definitely remember -- I was there for a long time.
I was in the hospital for Christmas my birthday.
And my sister and brother weren't allowed to visit me -- my parents only -- once a week and it was a tough time.
And I went back over and over again I went in for another surgery when I was ten and another surgery when I was in my teens and I have a lot of memories of being in the hospital and was a lonely time.
I was at -- -- -- hospital in California which was amazing because they paid for everything we didn't have a lot of money in our family and so.
That made -- possible really for me to have office surgeries in all of -- growing up.
And I first came out of the hospital I had an artificial leg prosthesis and they gave me one -- to walk went.
I remember going back to school to see my friends and walking on the playground and everyone was.
You feel like a freak a little -- and other kids can find new and -- you think one of the hardest things about being disabled and growing up especially being a little girl -- you don't feel pretty.
And what's different is the boys who would chase the girls -- tees the girls they don't.
Do that to you you know you're not a girly -- it.
It was a tough childhood my father left before I was born my mother -- -- school teacher with three kids to feed in -- Didn't always have money left at the end of the month and months left at the end of the money you know -- -- We had a lot of challenges and then she remarried a man who was abusive when I was too.
And that was very difficult for fun.
But the flip side of it was she always.
Dream -- my mother -- debate and set high goals and high standards.
I remember when I was ten years old my mother came home from work Wednesday with brochure a picture of an amputee on -- ski.
And it said I can do -- I can do anything.
And she gave it to me.
And it gave me an image that I could see she was the kind of person who was always thinking about what's possible and not what our limitation.
When I was fifteen I went skiing for the first time in my friend Barbara from school.
And it was hard even just going I didn't have winter clothes because I grew up in San Diego I didn't have any spending money.
I needed special equipment the polls with a little ski tips on the end.
So just getting organized to go was a big -- I was so excited to -- this beautiful graceful thing they've seen on television.
And I got on the top of the bunny hill and I nearly fell over.
And I picked myself up on my one -- I leave my artificial leg at the bottom of the council and get back up again and all over -- -- wobble wobble wobble white mountains.
And it was hard when you're disable everything is hard.
-- skiing was hard at first.
But I knew that it was possible and started skiing and I borrowed these special equipment -- national -- I needed from a club of amputees and they all raced inside -- -- I'll try this thing called racing.
But I was very excited because I hadn't had any other opportunity to compete I was never gonna make -- on high school track team I was never gonna make it on -- high school swim team.
-- skiing was the first time.
I could see against other amputees I could compete in a fair fight and I was excited to do that.
When I went to the paralympics in Innsbruck Austria I was so excited to be representing my country I didn't even expect to win at all I was just.
-- there for the experience.
My finish the first run of the slalom race the first race and it turned out that my time is the fastest time in the world couldn't believe it.
I went back to do -- second -- it takes two runs to win.
And as I was going down of course my crash and that's -- snow and myself I'm.
When the dust cleared after that I was still in -- in my it was an unbelievable feeling to win and metal.
In the Olympics and paralympics.
I later found out that's actually the first African American to ever win a medal in skiing in Winter Olympics I always felt different.
I was a kid -- one leg he's artificial leg and then when I started skiing.
And I met other disabled people I was the black person out skiing all right but I bet the black skiers.
And then I was the disabled here at the blacks here so I think there's always something different about me.
And what I've learned is to make that into something positive so I'm not just different and special.
I used to Wear an artificial leg that had big cosmetic covering my -- -- -- my Barbie leg that looked like a Barbie dolls play.
I think it had -- shaping that that's my other Langdon and rubber outer coating.
And now I'm just Wear it with all the wires showing in the medal in the titanium in the joints.
And I like it because it makes a statement.
When I walk around and people see that I'm comfortable with us it sets -- cool thing about life.
That whatever is wrong with -- or whatever is different with you it's okay -- yourself and enjoy.
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