Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 23, 2014

Local bilateral amputee going for gold, again

TAHLEQUAH — “Excuses” is not a word in the vocabulary of 10-year-old Hannah Hewett.

The young athlete, a bilateral amputee, runs races for fun and loves to compete.

Hannah recently qualified for the third year to participate in the National Junior Disability Championships, to be held in Ames, Iowa. She is the current record-holder for her age and classification, T42, for single and bilateral above-the-knee amputees. She runs the 60-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter races and has earned 32 medals, mostly gold.

“It’s fun to run and see friends at the track meet,” said Hannah.

Her motto is based on biblical scripture.

“‘I can do all things who Christ, who strengthens me,’” said Hannah, quoting Philippians 4:13.

Friday, she was wearing her “Hannah Can” T-shirt.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Paralympics,” she said. “I’m inspired by Rudy Garcia-Tolson.”

She met her hero, a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, in California at a Challenged Athletes Foundation event. He was one of the first bilateral amputees to start showing what is possible.

“He’s fast,” said Hannah. “And he was nice.”

Her mother, Kim Hewett, is amazed when she watches her daughter run.

“Hannah can just fly in her running blades,” said Hewett.

Hannah, one of five adopted children of John and Kim Hewett, was born without shin bones and had her lower legs amputated when she was 9 months old.

She was 5-1/2 months old when she was adopted, and the doctors gave the Hewetts a list of things she’d never be able to do – like hold a bottle or cup, said Hewett.

“She’s proving them wrong,” Hewett said.

Hannah first learned about the Endeavor Games in Edmond from her prothetist at The University of Oklahoma.

“She’d just turned 4 when she got her running legs,” said Hewett.

She believes her daughter reaps untold benefits by participating in the games.

“She started seeing other kids like herself and seeing what adults like here were doing, and the possibilities of what she could do,” Hewett said.

Recently the family was inspired by watching Amy Purdy on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Young Hannah is setting her own records and has goals for her future.

“We’re trying to get the word out that, with her accomplishments with NJDC, she’s training for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo,” said Hewett.

Aside from her disability, Hannah is just like any other little girl. She enjoys playing soccer with the Tahlequah Soccer Club; basketball with Echo Nights, a homeschool team; and archery. A mouth tab helps her draw the bow.

Although she’s been home-schooled, Hannah will be starting sixth grade in the fall at Fort Gibson Christian School.

“Hannah loves soccer; she’ll go out and mix it up with the rest of them,” said Hewett. “She’s always been a happy child, full of energy and easygoing. She’s the only one I needed a baby gate for.”

Hannah enjoys spending time with her siblings. The Hewetts have one biological daughter: Dawn, 28. Adopted children include Michael, 26; Nathaniel, 15; Alexis, 14; and Emmanuel, 7. The family attends Locust Grove Free Will Baptist.

“After Alexis, I thought we were done,” said Hewett. “But my husband’s ministry helps support and recruit foster and adoptive families.”

 

GET INVOLVED

Donations to help with travel expenses to the National Junior Disability Championships are being accepted for Hannah Hewett through links on her Facebook page, “Hannah Can,” or by calling 918-207-9519.

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