Annika Hutsler felt she had something to prove when she enlisted in the Marine Corps. All female Marines have something to prove, she said. Although it did not happen in the way she expected, Annika has proved just how incredibly tough she is. Sandra Endo of Fox 11 in Los Angeles recently told Annika’s powerful story.
“You know the Marines are already the few and the proud,” Annika said. “And so the joke was always the female Marines are the few and the prouder. And it just really meant a lot that we’re already such a small number.”
During boot camp when she was 21, the former ballet dancer began to feel pain in her foot. She did what all Marines would do. She ignored it.
But the pain did not go away. Eventually, doctors discovered the cause was a tumor. She went through more than a year of surgeries and more pain before the below-knee amputation of her right leg in April 2019.
With support from the Marine Corps, she has been recovering. She is an adaptive athlete with a new dream: competing in Alpine skiing in the Paralympics. She won multiple medals in the Warrior Games less than a year after her amputation.
“I just want to make a difference in this community,” Annika said. “I want people to know that asking for help does not mean you’re weak. It means you’re strong enough to realize that there’s a problem and other people are willing to help you through it.”
For Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, Annika told her own story in this inspirational video.
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