Roderick Sewell is the kind of person who lights up a room with his smile and his energy. Depending on the situation (like if he’s in a swimsuit or not!), you may never realize that he is a double above knee amputee. Most of the time it wouldn’t matter, but when it comes to breaking barriers and inspiring people to do things that they have no idea they can do, it matters – a lot.
Roderick was born without tibia bones which meant he would never walk on his own. When Roderick was one, his mother was faced with making this decision for her son: Amputate both legs above the knee and learn to adapt with prosthetic legs or live in a wheelchair for his entire life. Everyone advised her to go the wheelchair route, but something inside told her that amputation would lead to a brighter future.
I have to say thanks to Roderick’s mom, because her decision has paved the way for him to become the role model he is today. I met Roderick on a pool deck in Kona a few days before the Hawaii Ironman. He was there to do media interviews as the first hopeful above knee amputee to finish the Ironman World Champs. His friend and mentor Rudy Garcia-Tolson accompanied him and acted as his handler for the race which would prove grueling.
Spoiler: Roderick did finish the Ironman that day with 34 minutes to spare. His story starts long before the Hawaii Ironman and is difficult, beautiful, hopeful and inspiring. Today we talk about:
- Growing up without legs
- His mom’s decision to amputate
- Challenged Athletes Foundation: They gave him the tools to begin his athletic career
- Meeting Rudy and realizing “I CAN”
- The Importance of visibility
- Swimming and how it built his foundation for toughness
- The Ironman Experience in all its glory: I consider this the celebration peak of the episode (yes I almost cried listening)
- Barriers and how he approaches them
- Talking out loud to yourself 🙂
- Limb Kind Foundation: they help people move from “still to active”
- And so much more
This episode warms my heart. I wish I could hand out with Roderick more often. Please take a moment to follow him on Instagram at @rsewell92 and keep an eye out for his next big thing. As he says, he is not a disabled person but he is a differently abled person who chooses to live his life on different terms.
As always, I hope you love this episode and if you do, share it! If you want to give an extra level of support, consider becoming a Patron of the pod. Allright then, you know what time it is. It’s time to get out there and Run This World! Have a great workout and I’ll see you next week!