Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

Tatsiana Khvitsko doesn’t know the meaning of the word “nyet.”

Khvitsko was born missing two limbs — no legs, only three fingers on her left hand and one on her right — due to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Khvitsko learned to walk on her knees at the orphanage she grew up in after she was abandoned shortly after being born.But the 24-year-old has turned her disabilities into strengths — becoming a competitive bodybuilder and runner.

She was eventually adopted by a loving family that she later learned included her real parents.

“They had kept it a secret from me that I was their biological daughter,” she told Barcroft Media. “I had no idea. I always thought I was adopted.”

Her big transformation came when she journeyed to America after meeting a few doctors affiliated with Project Restoration, a charity that helps children needing assistance.

She was fitted with new prosthetics and regularly traveled between Russia and Kansas City, where she lived with three different host families that she still keeps in touch with.

“The moment I put on my blades, I felt like I was flying,” she told Barcroft. “I’ve run ever since.”In 2008, she decided to make the US her home and started going to college. Shortly after, she received a pair of running legs from a Florida-based compan

Her newfound freedom gave her the ability to run in races, though she admitted she occasionally wishes she were just a normal girl.

“Sometimes, I wish I had legs to wear heels,” she said.

But she tries not to pity herself.

“I don’t know if I had legs if I would be as passionate as I am,” she said. “I’m so strong physically and mentally and emotionally and I think it’s because of my disability.”