US Paralympic swimmer, 18-year-old Haven Shepherd, is in Tokyo to participate in her first edition of the Paralympic Games. Haven was born in Vietnam and when he was still a baby he had a bomb strapped to his body by his parents and ended up losing his legs.
Shepherd was only a year and two months old when his parents, who were on an extramarital affair, thought the only alternative for them was family suicide. After attaching the bomb to their daughter, they held her in their arms.
Her parents believed that if they couldn’t be together, everyone should die. Both ended up dying in the explosion, but Haven survived, though both legs were amputated below the knee as a result of the serious injuries.
Despite everything, the athlete doesn’t feel sorry for them for what happened. “It’s a life I’ve never lived; I don’t remember it,” she told People magazine.
“I just lost my legs, I could have lost my life.”
Six months after losing her birth parents, Haven was adopted by Shelly and Rob Shepherd and moved to Carthage, Missouri. “I’m so grateful to them for saving me. My parents gave me the world,” she acknowledges.
Shepherd, who is also a model, wants to inspire others in a world where there is so much cult of body and image in times of social media.
“That’s when I realized that there is no such thing as a perfect body; few people have that kind of body and that lifestyle,” he commented.
Haven will swim the 100m backstroke, in the SB7 class, and the 200m, in the SB8 class, representing the United States delegation.