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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Of all the unhappy trends I have witnessed -- conservative swings on television networks, dwindling newspaper circulation, the jailing of reporters and 'spin' -- nothing is more troubling to me than the obsequious press during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. They lapped up everything the Pentagon and White House could dish out -- no questions asked."

--Helen Thomas, "dean" of the White House press corps, 2006

Living life large with a short leg named Chester

Amanda Christensen holds her leg-stretching device.

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 "Chester."

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.


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