‘Limbpossible’ founder shares his success story

Briant Lawler, News Editor

On Oct. 16, Madison College hosted an event, showcasing that anything is possible with enough hard work and galvanized determination.

The keynote speaker for this event, Robert Anthony, 31, is a below-the-knee amputee. Anthony was born with a defect, fibular hemimelia, where the fibula bone in one leg did not grow during fetal development.

This ultimately led to his amputation. He also came from a rough upbringing and had to fight through his circumstances and his disability.

His tenacious grit has led him to become a motivational public speaker; a professional medical prosthetic educator; a U.S. amputee soccer player; and an American Ninja Warrior for Season 9.

Disability Month is held every October, to highlight the achievements and contributions made by people with disabilities, which is what brought Anthony to our campus.

This was his first time at Madison College, and Wisconsin, and Anthony was impressed by the number of disabled students in our college (currently over 1,000 ).

His message for students, especially those with disabilities, was clear: not being confident leads to a lack of commitment, which leads to a lack of success. And while we approach the end of year, when the holidays and cold weather nudge people into a lazier mindset, he emphasized ending the year strong and running through the finish line triumphantly.

For most of his life, Anthony felt ashamed of his disability, to the point where he’d avoid shorts, even on the hottest of days, so that no one would see his amputation. Not only was he grappling with the anxiety caused by his disability, but he also endured childhood abuse, being raised by a single mother, and a house fire that took his grandmother’s life.

It wasn’t until his early twenties did Anthony begin to embrace and leverage his circumstances, what most other people would consider as insurmountable barriers. It was during this metamorphosis that Anthony starting asking himself, “What is ability?”

He realized that “ability” can translate into “skill set,” and everyone has talents to bring to the table. Anthony soon sussed out this his talents were in his passion for activism through sports and recreation.

During his speech, Anthony also posited that one the proudest moments in his life was when his mother told him how much she loved him for starting his first organization, “Foot Loose and Free” (FLF). FLF was born out of frustration with another sports organization that Anthony was involved with, which included peoples with disabilities, but kept them separated from able-bodied players.

Sometime thereafter, he formed FLF to be an all-inclusive sports time, a recreation organization that encourages people with varying types of disabilities to join, from Down Syndrome to Cerebral Palsy.

Since FLF, Anthony has gone on to form another organization, called “Limbpossible,” which seeks to stand up for other people with disabilities, who might not be able to stand up otherwise, as well as empowering, educating, and pushing people to overcome and succeed.

Since forming Limbpossible, Anthony has helped raise money to send five children every summer to a specialized disability camp, the cost of which is about $1,000 a child.

Anthony’s life stands testament that, with perseverance, any circumstance can be surmounted, and underscores that the able-bodied population should not look at people with disabilities as being any less able to succeed.