Anna Steven has a Paralympic dream - and Liam Malone is helping her achieve it. At age 13 Anna Steven endured six months of chemotherapy and major surgery that led to the amputation of her leg.
Today she dreams of representing New Zealand at the Paralympics, supported by the perfect mentor - double Paralympic gold medallist Liam Malone. They share their stories as part of Disability Pride week 2017.
''I had two choices – either have an operation which would leave me unable to walk without constant pain, or to have amputation surgery. It was 2013, and I had been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. And because I wanted to lead as normal a life as possible, I elected to have an amputation. It still wasn't easy. The chemotherapy knocked me around and then, after the swelling had eased, I had to get used to walking with a prosthetic leg. But it also meant I learned how to overcome challenges, to focus on a goal, and to make the most out of every day. I kept telling myself that my life was what it was and I couldn't really change it''.
Paralympic double gold medal para-athlete and world record holder Liam Malone is widely known as "Blade Runner". He shares his story to inspire other young people with disabilities, and to smash whatever barriers are standing in their way.
''I had a number of self-body issues and then Mum died from cancer. For a prolonged period of time I suffered from intense anxiety and throughout high school I was involved in a whole bunch of trouble. Basically, I shut up shop. It was when I started running that I turned my life around. Running creates a positive focus in my life but I always encourage young people to do what they enjoy doing as opposed to hyping what I'm doing''.
Disability simply won't exist by the end of this century. Society will be so inclusive and technology will be so advanced that nobody will be considered disabled. What will make someone abled or disabled will just be attitude and mindset. As long as you stay positive and work hard, then that's all that will matter.