After her leg amputation, Cadie Jessup did the hard mental work that it took to make her life whole again. In the 7 ½ years since, she has held only one pity party. But she’s had a lot of celebratory parties for reaching goals no one ever thought she could!
A bank strategy consultant by day and now a para-athlete and motivational coach, Cadie was always more competitive and active than most. Even in her thirties, she still played co-ed flag football, hit the gym regularly and ran. So she was understandably nervous about the amputation and the days ahead. This was a time well before the world became more accustomed to seeing amputee athletes.
Her darkest days were in the required two-month waiting period before she got her first prosthesis. Once free from being wheelchair-bound, Cadie set her sights on some lofty goals. Despite recommendations to wait, she challenged herself to become a triathlete, attending a camp for active amputees at an unheard of seven weeks after her surgery.
Despite having not been on a bicycle in 25 years, not being a strong swimmer previously and only having run only a few half-marathons, Cadie knew if she could do this – compete – she’d conquer any feelings of doubt. And so she did. An unprecedented seven months after her above-the-knee amputation.
That was just the beginning, of course. Leveraging the boost in her confidence, her life seemed to springboard from there. She became a running coach, started an active amputees group and two years ago founded a 5k for beginners. Thanks to Cadie’s can-do mindset, the Rookie Run ‘N Walk 5k offers free training and encouragement. It is an inclusive event for people of any age or ability willing to try. And it attracts people from 5 years-old to 69-years old, able-bodied and some with disabilities you can and can’t see.
Being a role model for all, Cadie was up for the experience of walking the runway at Charlotte’s Runway for Peace benefit fashion show. Wearing a one-of-a-kind, artistic prosthesis commissioned by UNYQ, Cadie strutted her stuff in two fashion outfits and was the envy of many as she showed off her workout dedication with her 6-pack abs!
So, as visibility of amputees has increased, we wondered if Cadie thought there was a mental shift among amputees, too.
“Yes and no. If they weren’t active before, it is even harder to get the motivation to move. Just like any population, there are those who do, and those who don’t. I just happen to have the drive and God-given attitude to make it possible. I look at obstacles and smile!” she exclaimed.
“But I want to show anyone they can, too. Every day, you have to make that decision multiple times throughout the day. It is hard mental work but it gets better. I want to model the positive.”
And so she does. Every day. Cadie doesn’t want her prosthesis to look like real skin. She wants people to see she has overcome this challenge. When she wears her blade for running, for example, she feels invincible, like she can do anything.
No doubt, Cadie. No doubt about that!