This is the first amputee to ever be featured in the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue'
A lot of people will be rooting for Brenna Huckaby when she competes at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang next month, but it's her body positive take on her own circumstances that is proving to be an inspiration recently.
The snowboarder recently headed to a beach in Aruba for a photoshoot, where she is set to be the first amputee to be featured in Sports Illustrated coveted Swimsuit Issue. Due to her appearance and what it means to many other women across the world, the 22-year-old has received a plethora of positive responses from others with disabilities.
Talking to Cosmopolitan, she said that the response was "extremely positive and uplifting, which I was hoping for". "Before doing the shoot, I thought, 'Holy cow, I'm opening myself up for a lot of good, but potentially also a lot of bad'," she explained. "I wanted it to be done right. I wanted to represent women with disabilities the right way."
In 2010 Huckaby was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. Due to complications with the disease, eventually her doctors were forced to amputate her right leg. At the time she was only a freshman in high school, hitting what she described as the "lowest of low" when she realised she could no longer continue being a gymnast.
She moved to Utah from Louisiana, at which point she took up snowboarding as a way to get back into sports. Huckaby also started to go to the gym to build her confidence, as well as surrounding herself with positive people who could help her progress. "You have to feel good in order to find other people that can make you feel good," she said.
Sharing a vulnerable moment with her now-fiancé was a big deal, but one she is glad she has done now:
"He was the first person that I ever took my prosthetic off in front of. He was incredibly supportive and was asking questions. It's so different when it's genuine questions versus just trying to fill dead air.
"He's played such a huge role in me breaking out and feeling comfortable with myself. He reassures me and helps push me out of my comfort zone. He plays such a huge role in letting me know that I don't need my prosthetic to be who I am."
A further moment that helped Huckaby was the birth of her daughter Lilah, which she explained helped her to "realize how amazing of a person I am inside that it doesn't matter what I look like outside," adding, "I know that I'm so much stronger than my body".
Finally, she gave a message to other amputees and women with disabilities:
"Know that you're a force. To sit back and let an amputation try and stop your life — you just can't. My advice would be to remember who you are within and that your body is a tool. Don't be afraid to push yourself and get yourself out there."
Hopefully Brenna's words will spread and help to inspire and motivate many like her around the world.