A 28-year-old woman with Spina Bifida has said that she won’t let her disability stop her from achieving her dreams – having now hit the catwalks to launch her modelling career.
Karneshia Patton, who hails from Birmingham, Alabama, is paralysed from the waist down due to her condition, which is a congenital birth defect where the spine and spinal cord don’t develop properly.
While Karneshia doesn’t think Spina Bifida affects her much day-to-day, she does admit that it has caused problems in the past.
She said: “I would say that I was bullied in middle school, maybe 5th or 6th grade.
“There were times growing up when I did resent my wheelchair before I actually came to terms with my disability and accepted who I was.
“But I think that’s when we were going through that awkward adolescent phase when kids were kind of cruel and just kind of wanted to be like other kids. I was like – I don’t need to be like the other kids.”
It was this point that Karneshia started training at the gym, and also took up basketball.
“I have been working out since I was in high school,” she explained.
“I actually started lifting myself up with pull-ups and things like that. The most pull-ups I have done is 10.”
Now a member of the Lakeshore Foundation’s wheelchair basketball team, Karneshia practises twice a week during basketball season.
When on the court, she admits that one of her biggest challenges is blocking her competitor – but outside of the game, she also faces other challenges, referring to her wheelchair as both her ‘best friend’ and ‘worst enemy’.
Karneshia continued: “Sometimes I do get frustrated with thinking about day-to-day tasks and what route I might have to take to get there. How long it might take me to get ready?