By Lucy Bryant via SWNS
Meet the bionic woman who roller-skates, weight lifts and snowboards – despite being born without her left hand or foot.
Enya van Egmond, 24, has worn a prosthetic leg since she was two but has never let her disability hold her back and has instead thrown herself headfirst into challenges.
She says her achievements have all been possible thanks to the support of her family - especially her mom who has always treated her the same as everyone else.
Despite her limb differences, Enya loves going to the gym, and has three adapted prosthetic legs - one for running, one for walking and one for wearing heels.
She has recently received a bionic arm, and although she has always thrived without two hands, Enya says she loves being a bionic woman and has a newfound confidence.
Enya, a sports and movement student at Roc Nijmegen University, from Arnhem, the Netherlands, said: “I believe this is how I’m meant to be.
“I would be boring if I was normal, with two hands and two feet.
“Being born this way has given me so many opportunities and made me more determined, it’s a bit of a superpower.
"I love being a bionic woman."
When Enya was born, her parents - Bibi Zwolman, 57, and Arthur van Egmond, 58 - had no idea their child would be born without two of her limbs.
Baby Enya arrived with no left hand or forearm, and no left foot or lower left leg.
She had a few toes on her left leg, but before her first birthday, these were amputated as they would have prevented the tot from being able to walk without the use of crutches.
“It was a hard decision for my parents to agree to the amputation, but they knew it was for the best as I wouldn’t have been able to walk properly otherwise,” Enya said.
“I’m so grateful to them they agreed with doctors - it was only a few toes, and they weren’t in the right place anyway."
The family was given a couple of possible explanations for Enya’s limb differences – including umbilical cord complications or a twin that died in the womb – but have never been able to give a definitive answer.
But this never stopped Enya from feeling normal - and she approached life just like any other young child.
“My parents always allowed me to figure things out for myself,” Enya said.
“Even if it took me an hour to do something that should have taken 10 minutes, they knew I wanted to be able to do it myself and I’m so grateful to them for letting me.
“I always managed in the end.
“I’ve never been afraid of anything. I would rather break my leg than not try.”
Enya and her sisters - Aira, 26, and Teddy, 18 - spent a lot of time as children in the gym where their mom, Bibi, worked in the day-care center.
It was there that Enya threw herself into swimming, judo, and dance, as well as horse riding and cycling when she got home.
Her love of sports continued through her childhood, and at 14 she became a professional snowboarder for the Dutch Paralympic team.
She competed for five years and flew to South Korea in 2018 after placing for the Dutch team.
Unfortunately, due to injury, Enya was unable to compete but says the experience was "one of the best things" she’s ever done.
“It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many Paralympians and realize how strong we all are,” Enya said.
“The whole experience was incredible – it definitely helped me to keep pushing myself.”
Enya’s love of sport has only accelerated since her childhood, and she now attends the gym five times a week to work on her weightlifting.
Outside of the gym, she enjoys roller-skating, mountain biking, longboarding, and running, all with the support of her boyfriend of two years, Yves Litjens, 36.
“I just love the way exercise makes me feel – it’s like anything is possible,” Enya said.
“My prosthetics take a lot of impact because I’m always running and jumping, so they do break more than I would like.
“But I won’t let that stop me, I’m determined to not let them hinder me.”
With three leg prosthetics to choose from, Enya has her blade attachment for running, regular leg for walking and other exercises, and a prosthetic with an angled foot to wear with heels.
She has recently also received a bionic arm which she says her really helped with her confidence and the mental challenges surrounding her limb differences.
“It never used to bother me that I didn’t have my hand or foot because I couldn’t do anything to change it,” Enya said.
“I was more concerned about my red hair and really struggled with that, but I embraced my prosthetics.
“It was only when I saw someone else with a bionic hand and realized how cool they looked compared to mine that I began to struggle.
“I couldn’t shift the idea in my head that 'normal’ meant having two hands – and I only had one.”
With her new bionic arm, Enya says she feels empowered to have the decision to have two hands or not.
She can navigate most obstacles in life without her arm prosthetic – even lifting weights and riding a bike – but enjoys having the option and variety the bionic arm gives her.
“I wanted to share my journey for myself and to show that being an amputee shouldn’t have to hold you back – there are incredible prosthetics out there which change lives like mine,” Enya said.
“It still amazes me how many people think of me as an inspiration. I get messaged all the time from people who are struggling, but it’s such a supportive community and we’re all there for each other.
“I’m so glad I was born like this, I wouldn't change it for the world – and I want to encourage others to be proud of who they are too.”
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