University of Arkansas’ freshman cheerleader, Patience Beard, sports the Razorback’s red and white while flipping down the sidelines on one zebra prosthetic leg. Just as stunning as the rest, Patience has worked very hard to conquer the odds to cheer on her university’s squad.
“I’ve always dreamed of this but never actually thought I’d be here doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t even put into words how exciting and amazing this year has been already,” said University of Arkansas freshman cheerleader, Patience Beard. “They have just treated me like I’m a normal person, which is important for me.”
When Patience was born, she was diagnosed with Proximal Focal Femoral Disorder; a disorder where one femur bone is shorter than the other. In Patience’s case, it was her left femur. Still a baby somewhere between 7 and 9 months old, Patience’s leg was amputated. She received her first prosthetic leg at 14 months old. Since this life altering change took place at such a young age for this brave and bold Razorback cheerleader, to her, having a prosthetic leg is normal.
Kevin Ellstrand, Patience’s cheer partner said that “She works really, really hard to get where she is and do what she does.”
“She doesn’t quit, she doesn’t stop, she wants something, she’s going after it, which I think is huge,” exclaimed Kraig Jimenez, Razorback Cheer Coach.
Recently, a 4-year-old boy with a prosthetic leg noticed Beard’s own zebra-printed prosthetic leg at a Razorback game and wanted to meet her. After meeting each other, Patience said that it was one of the proudest moments of her life.
“She’s the kind of person we want,” Jean Nail, University of Arkansas spirit coordinator, tells Lost Letterman. “She’s a good role model. And she’s absolutely qualified.”
College cheerleading for Patience has become just one more feat that she has overcome through her life. At the young age of 3 when she asked her father to remove training wheels off her specially-designed bicycle, to jumping into gymnastics at 4-years-old and then eagerly becoming involved with cheerleading in seventh grade; Patience would surely conquer college cheerleading as well.
“Patience has never come in last. Not once,” Said Nail.
Even though, completing every tumble and stunt for Patience is done to her fullest potential and with absolute excellence, there is still some amount of pain experienced for her. There is not one prosthetic limb that offers complete comfort; however, her coach will explain that “you’ll never hear Patience mutter a word about that.” There are “no excuses from her.”