Haven Shepherd

Challenged Athletes Foundation - Featured Athlete

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"Meet up and coming athlete Haven Shepherd"
Haven Shepherd is a bubbly, energetic 9-year old girl who loves to run and play with her friends and six brothers and sisters. Her parents have even appropriately nick-named her "Tigger" after the playful tiger that won't stop bouncing around.

Seeing Haven's positive spirit, you wouldn't imagine that her life began with an inconceivable tragedy in her birth place of Vietnam where her parents were killed but Haven survived, enduring the loss of both of her legs below-the-knees.

When she was 19 months old, Haven was adopted by the Shepherd family and brought into a loving and welcoming environment in Missouri. Following in the footsteps of her older sisters, Haven later acquired a desire to join the track team. She competed in her first track meet on regular prosthetic legs and after a harsh fall, decided those 'running legs' weren't so ugly after all. In 2011 the Challenged Athletes Foundation granted Haven her first pair of running legs and she has been running circles around the other kids since; attending the CAF Ossur Running and Mobility Clinic and completing the kids run at the San Diego Triathlon Challenge for the second year in a row. Haven recently participated in a surf clinic through CAF's Catch a Rising Star program, riding the waves with such joy and pride to be trying a new sport and playing with her friends. Through the continued support of her family and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Haven will have a lifetime of opportunity ahead of her through sports.

Photo Credit: Rich Cruse © 2012

Haven's playful nature yet determination to succeed, give her all of the right ingredients to excel and continually inspire her peers and people of all ages along the way. She has not let the tragic start to her life define her ability to finish anything she sets her mind to, and always with a smile.