My name is Senna Whiteman and I am lucky enough to be able to share with you why I feel so grateful to have found fitness in my life and how training makes me feel so powerful.
It started when I was 12 years old and diagnosed after 4 years of tests with hypochondroplasia (a type of dwarfism) in my lower limbs. I was referred to a specialist in London who gave me the ultimatum that if I wasn’t to have the surgeries. I would be wheelchair bound by 21 years of age. Of course I was brave enough to make the right decision and go through the surgeries.
This was going to consist of metal frame work going through both my femurs (thigh bones) to correct the length and angle in which my legs grew. What was meant to be 2 surgeries and 6 months of change and recovery, resulted in almost 2 years and 9 surgeries, having my muscles and tendons cut almost 3 times and constant antibiotics to fight infection.
At this time it was a constant transfer from my bed to my wheelchair and not much more. I lost the ability to bend and use my legs completely. At 13 years old, I still attended school as I was studying towards my GCSE’s at this time.
Not being able to bend my legs, awkwardly made obstacles for me going through certain doorways or fitting into particular spaces. It was not an easy ride.
Although it physically stripping me of my ability to move, I also lost all positive mentality. I remember a very strong moment where I cried to my bestfriend and my mum saying I felt I would never walk again and there was only one way to end the pain I was experiencing. And then after a heavily emotional discussion with a particular nurse, I found belief that if I really tried, things would get better and I could have a better life than I did before my surgery. After the frames were removed, I pushed so hard with my physio and hydrotherapy and developed an unstoppable mindset. I didn’t ever stop wanting to get up onto my crutches and Zimmer frame and I walked as much as I could. Even when I walked like a penguin due to my limited bend.
As things were picking up I joined a weightlifters gym and walked on the treadmill as I was so thrilled to be walking again, when I met my friend Daniel who introduced me to weights. Within just over 18 months I was squatting 100kg and I knew this was something I had to pursue. The me who was broken was so far deep down inside and I was so ready to push my physical and mental strengths to the most ridiculous ability.
At 17 I competed for my first time at a UKBFF beginners show. And have just stepped off stage on my first wellness show with 2bros.
Then started my journey working with children with physical and learning disabilities, to give back and one day be like that nurse who told the young teen struggling to hold on, that there will be brighter days and that they’re mind can’t stop them.
I have a desire to influence and push people like myself with disabilities higher in the fitness industry so our stories can be heard...as you can be whatever you wish to be, with your power of being you.