If we were to stare at any one who has something different, is different or acts different than what we all think is common and normal, we would not get very far and stand to stare the entire day.
Now, go and do some self-reflection. What is your tick, or abnormality? What makes you different? Perhaps good that it won’t always show. But imagine if that would be the case, that it actually would show. How would you like it, to be stared at daily, to hear hurting questions or ‘jokes’?
With some people the ‘other something’ is more visual than for others. Someone with an amputation however, is not a walking handicap but someone who participates in life, just like you and me.
For Milton, is what most of us can hide not possible.
He is missing his right leg.
Milton comes from Colombia where he used to sport a lot to stay fit. At the age of 17 he lost his right leg in an accident. Quitting sports however was never an option and he continued to exercise. He started swimming and became part of the Paralympic swim team of Colombia for the games of Athens.
Having the guts to leave everything behind, he came to the Netherlands to start a new life. But a new setback followed. A new culture, a different language, a new way of life, everything was different.
From ‘being someone’ in Colombia to ‘being a stranger, nobody’ in the Netherlands. Suddenly you merge in the crowed and you have to ‘swim hard’ to stay afloat, to be heard and seen. To be someone again and be part of society. To be there…. and allowed to be there….
Sport being an important part of his life, it was continued also here in the Netherlands. Although not (yet) at the old professional level.
Running came as a total surprise. At work people were joking about who would participate at the ‘Singelloop in Breda’ (a run along the canals of Breda). With an underlining tone of “surely you won’t run as you are missing a leg”, Milton as well was asked to participate. To everybody’s surprise he just said “Yes”.
Not knowing yet how that would work out, he started the adventure and searched for ways to run with crutches. All of this to participate and finish the 5km run for the first time in 2015.
In daily life he is still often confronted with many prejudice. From people that are over empathetic, to people who think they can ask anything without any courtesy. People look at him like they know they shouldn’t, or in a way like he is some abnormality.
Sport is for Milton a way to turn this negativity into something positive. To inspire others, to be who they want to be, and do what their hearth tells them to do.
Running with crutches gives him a feeling of freedom without a pinching prosthesis, a feeling that everything is possible.
Even when things are a little different or go in other ways than expected, quitting or excuses are not an option.