The world-champion snowboarder had been a nationally ranked gymnast up until age 14, deciding to make the switch to snowboarding when she lost her leg to osteosarcoma.
“People say they couldn’t get through what I did, but honestly, it’s natural to keep going,” Huckaby, now 22, tells Parents magazine for its February issue, posing for the cover with her baby girl Lilah, 17 months.
“You just do it. My mom helped me to focus on ‘lights,’ like the lights at the end of tunnels, during treatment,” she continued. “I’d envision super basic stuff, like being a teenager again and, really, just living.”
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One thing Huckaby learned throughout the grueling treatments and therapy was something she is determined to pass on to Lilah — starting as soon as possible.
“I struggled with body image as a teen, and it took losing my leg to realize that my body is so much more than something to look at,” she says. “I will do everything to teach this to my daughter.”
“A year of struggling — with balance, muscle, my gait — to learn to walk again made me see that my legs weren’t there to be beautiful, but to get me from place to place,” adds the mother of one. “You feel so much stronger when you look at it that way.”
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Huckaby admits that Lilah already started snowboarding before her 1st birthday — completely “by accident,” though, on a family trip including Huckaby’s partner and Lilah’s dad, Tristan, who is also a snowboarder.
“We took her to Lake Tahoe and planned to carry her up the hill in a backpack, but they wouldn’t let anyone on the lift without a board,” explains the pro athlete.
“So we strapped a little one on her, and she loved it,” Huckaby adds. “Now we have this little tow-rope system you can get for really small kids that allows us to pull her.”