life large with a short leg named Chester
Amanda Christensen holds her leg-stretching
By Jed C. Christensen
August 8, 2006 | Eighteen-year-old Amanda Christensen
is just as active as other teenagers, if not more. The
difference is, Amanda's right leg is shorter than her
left -- almost 3 inches shorter -- but when asked if
it slows her down, Amanda replies, "Never!"
Amanda was 9 months old before her parents and the
doctors even noticed she had a short leg. Amanda's mother,
Kimberlynn Christensen, says, "She was at the age
when she started to pull herself up against objects,
I noticed one leg was on tippy toes, and the other flat."
Kim said she ran Amanda to the back room away from her
other children just in case she showed emotion. She
says, "I bet I pulled them straight 10 times, not
believing what I was seeing."
After several doctor appointments and weeks of waiting,
they found out that Amanda was missing her fibula in
her leg. Doctors told Amanda's parents that when she
was 4 they would have to amputate at least Amanda's
foot, if not the whole leg. They also said she wouldn't
walk until she was about 14 months old, but by 11 months,
she had proved them wrong.
Looking at Amanda today you can tell she proved the
prediction of amputation wrong as well. After several
operations and after wearing two stretching devises,
Amanda's doctors were able to stretch her leg almost
7 inches. Amanda says she basically has a normal leg,
but even neater than that, she has a leg she has named
Amanda's mother feared she would never wear high heals,
ski, roller blade, ride a bike, and more; but with Chester's
help, Amanda has done all of that and more.
Amanda has been involved in student government, general
Sterling scholar at Millard High, president of the National
Honor Society, a judge for Youth Court, sister, aunt
and friend. She is an All-State dancer, All-Star dancer,
National Champion dancer, dance captain, and has been
invited to France because of her talent.
Amanda suggests that she has been able to do these
things because of her leg. When asked is she wishes
she had a normal leg, she answers saying, "My leg
is basically normal. If anything, I've done more because
of it, because I know I can overcome anything."
Amanda has graduated from high school, but plans to
continue her education. She starts at Snow College this
fall, and then plans to transfer to Utah State University.
Amanda would like to earn her master's degree in business,
and possibly her doctorate. Someday she hopes to have
a family, and continue to stay involved in the community.