Danielle McLaughlin was born into a family of athletes and has always been a competitor, but when she lost her left foot to cancer in 2004 she thought those days may have been over.
Years after the amputation, Danielle had an epiphany when she attended her first spin class. It was the moment that she looked at the person next to her with two legs and realized that she could keep up, and even surpass the competition. That confidence boost unleashed a fire within.
With the help of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Danielle received her first running prosthetic. “It was like I woke up from a deep sleep and that first time I ran…I just felt so alive.” Like an unstoppable force, she continues to compete whenever she can, not allowing anything to hold her back, taking advantage of every moment to be active.
Through resilience and an overachieving spirit, Danielle is now the owner of a Gold Medal from the 2011 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Beijing, as well as a host of other running and cycling awards. She is currently preparing for the 2018 New York Marathon, all while continuing to dedicate her life to cancer care and advocacy.
Now Danielle mentors other challenged athletes, provides support, and continues to look ahead. “You can’t accomplish things without surrounding yourself with a team of supporters, whether that be friends, family, teachers, or mentors. I would have never gotten to where I am today, athletically or professionally, if I didn’t have people urging me to set goals and reminding me [that] I have accomplished a lot. Sometimes I think we forget to recognize the accomplishments along the way.”