Conquering Adversity and Summiting Mountains

About the Author: Rebecca Legon is a disability activist, mom,  mountain climber, and disabled model. She has been featured on Britain's Top Missing Model one of the first disabled related reality TV shows challenging perceptions and lack of awareness of disabilities in the industry. Recently she conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro and plans on climbing the other six summits to inspire others that you do not have to be an extreme athlete to achieve the impossible, and that disability shouldn't define someone, or hold them back. You can hear more about Rebecca's journey on her Instagram (@rebeccalegon).

My name is Rebecca Legon. Yes it’s my actual name! Pretty coincidental considering I only have one leg! I was born with PFFD (Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency): a rare birth defect where my left leg formed without a femur bone and my knee grew from my hip. My first prosthetic limb was a wooden peg-leg. As I grew older, this became painful and complicated. So at age eight, it was decided that I would have my foot amputated. This decision changed my life and enabled me to be fitted with a prosthetic leg with a knee joint improving the alignment and my mobility. 

Growing up as a child with a limb difference there was always a huge lack of awareness for me around disability. I didn’t meet or know any other disabled people, which made me feel so isolated and ashamed of my body from a very early age. I would try to hide my disability from others, often wearing baggy clothes and standing back in a crowd to avoid being seen. 

“I have always had a burning desire to do something positive with my life and to help people in similar situations, but until recently my confidence has stopped me.”

Thankfully, growing inclusivity and acceptance of disability through platforms such as the Paralympics and Invictus Games, as well as many more disabled people on TV, and of course social media. Social media has encouraged me to accept myself and my imperfections. I am now devoted to showing others who may be struggling to accept themselves that being different is more than okay, it’s normal. 

I am a mother of two amazing children, a dog owner, and a health and fitness fanatic. I love hiking, swimming, cycling, horse riding, skiing, and walking, often with my dog. My newfound passion is challenge led activity and sport, especially mountain expeditions. Last year I climbed Mt Batur and the world’s largest freestanding mountain- Mt Kilimanjaro. I can hear the other mountains calling out to me and, during my life, I hope to conquer the other six summits!

My focus now is to give back to the amputee and limb difference community by helping to raise money for the fantastic charity LimbPower, by challenging myself to the max, I also hope to motivate others to seek the things their inner voice deems impossible. I am also massively passionate about sustainable living, the environment, animals, and the countryside. 

I feel thankful to have been involved in many shoots that showcase beauty in the face of adversity. I am honoured to be a part of growing trends in brands challenging perceptions around disability and difference, including mental health issues associated with being, or feeling different. Companies are starting to realise that there is a huge gap in a market that many people relate to, and how vital it is to show inclusivity. 

Yet my first passion is to encourage others to accept themselves and live with happiness despite their disabilities or differences. I hope to lead a campaign around the importance of educating the world, especially young people, that everybody is unique and that this is okay. I am determined that if children grow up better educated on disability and associate with people who are disabled or different, it will help to make them more worldly adults who can lead us into a vibrant, accepting society that embraces difference.