In Texarkana, Texas, they know a little something about school spirit. Patience Beard knows a lot about it, because she’s been cheerleading there since the seventh grade, and this plucky teen has never let a detail like being an amputee keep her down.
Patience now has the chance to realize one of her ultimate dreams: to cheer for a college team. The freshman landed one of five coveted spots to cheer for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks this year.
Being no stranger to hard work, the 18-year-old takes it all in stride. Due to a rare childhood disease, Patience had her left leg amputated before her first birthday. She’s had to learn how to do everything with one limb ever since, including cheer. She told Today, “It’s always a challenge, always pushing yourself.”
Her zebra print prosthetic is clearly a nod to her sassy, can-do attitude. As grueling as the stunts of cheerleading can be, Patience says she loves the message that she gets to send others: that anything is possible. As she explains, “It’s more than just yelling out cheers.”
Who gets the credit for instilling this winning attitude in Patience? She has to give it up to her mom and dad, who she says treated her like every other kid while growing up, and encouraged her to give every new thing her all. “They’ve always pushed me to do the best I can do and never let me give excuses ever,” she says.
It sounds like that was a smart way for mom and dad to go, because her college cheer captain says Patience will receive no special treatment, and will be expected to perform at 100 percent, just like everyone else on the squad. With her tremendous spirit, we’re sure the cheering dynamo will continue to act like a true champion.