Mandi Sedlak lost her right leg to cancer when she was just 21-years-old but she wasn’t about to let that keep her down. She set her mind on golf and recently won the 2016 Women’s National Amputee Championship in Oregon as a result of her competitive drive.
“Whatever I’m doing, I like to be the best,” the now 36-year-old Sedlak said. “It’s always been my goal to win.”
Sedlak first discovered a growth on her foot when she was just 13. Soon she was diagnosed with a rare cancer called plantar neurofibromatosis. The news came as a terrible shock as Sedlak was on track to starting a career in gymnastics and was already being courted by several schools.
“It felt like a small piece of gravel was stuck to my foot,” Sedlak recalled in an interview in 2008. “I went to wipe it off and nothing was there.”
Naturally her sickness changed her life almost immediately. The cancer grew and eventually took her leg.
“It affected the way I grew up tremendously.When you’re the kid on crutches, you’re different than everyone else. I was in constant pain,” Sedlak said.
But while difficult, the amputation felt to Sedlak like a new start in life. With the source of her cancer gone along with her leg, the young woman was cancer-free for the first time in nearly a decade.
Not long after she lost her leg and once she became used to a prosthetic leg, Sedlak started accompanying her father to the golf course and it wasn’t long before she realized she was good at the game. Soon she began entering tournaments and started winning them. In August she won the Women’s National Amputee and World Disabled Golf Championship in Portland, Oregon.
“Just because I’m missing a leg doesn’t mean anything. I still do everything I want to do, and it’s no excuse not to play good golf,” she said at another tournament in 2006.
The plucky competitor also now runs two of her own businesses. According to Omaha.com, Sedlak runs “Prosthetic Healthcare Services, which designs and fits custom artificial limbs, and Women’s Orthotics and Prosthetics Healthcare Services, which helps breast cancer patients who have undergone mastectomies.”
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