Child of Chernobyl is Training to Reach her Dreams
Olathe, Kan. — A year ago, a young woman could barely run a mile. But now that she has her new running legs, she’s training for a major athletic event: the Paralympics.
Tanya Khvitsko was born in Belarus, downwind from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She was born with no left foot, no right leg below the knee, and under developed fingers. But she’s not the kind of person who will let obstacles stand in her way. About a year ago, she was struggling to run on her prosthetic legs, so she got some newer high tech running legs. Now, she’s training hard, hoping to qualify for the Paralympics in 2016. Her trainer and coach Whitney Rodden calls Tanya “inspirational” and Tanya says she wants to live up to that.
“I try to say yes I am inspirational so that tells me I have to continue doing good stuff and continue running harder and working hard,” she said. “If you tell me I’m inspirational then maybe you’re right and I need to continue doing what I’m doing.”
There’s only one thing that could stand in the way of her training. Tanya just graduated from Mid-America Nazarene University in May with a degree in Corporate Communications, and if she doesn’t find a job in the next 30 days, her student visa will expire and she will have to return to Belarus. She doesn’t think she’d be able to keep up this level of training if that happened.