SEVERANCE, Colo. — Those who run competitively can tell you, with a little hard work and dedication – anything is possible.
Just last year, 10-year-old Carmen Wilkey started running track and she’s already making waves.
“In her first season, she set the record for her gender, age group and classification,” said Carmen’s dad, Mike Wilkey. “The national record.”
“Wow. That’s impressive,” said Denver7’s Russell Haythorn.
And it’s even more impressive when you consider the challenges Carmen faces.
“People call her the one-footed wonder,” said Mike Wilkey.
“My name is Carmen Wilkey and I have Fibular Hemimelia,” said Carmen Wilkey.
Carmen was born without her fibula and then without her outside metatarsal and her pinky toe.
“I didn’t have my ankle or my pinky toe, so like this whole entire bone was just – it didn’t develop,” Carmen said while grabbing her prosthetic leg.
“In our case, the best prognosis for her future was to amputate her foot at a young age,” said Mike Wilkey. “She was a champ and just so strong at such a young age.”
That was at just 14-months-old – about the time her mom and dad realized she had a number of special gifts.
“She was in church and they have a nursery for kids and there was another little kid crying,” Mike said. “And Carmen just crawled over to the other baby, put her arm around her and started crying with her. She has a huge heart.”
And she certainly doesn’t feel limited now.
“I feel like I could do anything,” Carmen said.
She’s not only inspiring to watch at track and field, but she’s also a hero at home to three younger siblings, too.
“They’re like, ‘Oh, Carmen – you have a robot leg,’” Carmen said.
“She’s a great oldest sibling,” Mike said. “She’s a huge help to us.”
Carmen will have two big events this summer. The Endeavor Games in Oklahoma in June and then Junior Nationals in Alabama in July.
“At the Endeavor Games she’ll get her marks,” Mike said. “And if they qualify for Junior Nationals in any given event, then she’ll go and compete in that event at Junior Nationals. You have classifications based on your limb deficiency or whatever the case may be.”
And while she takes the competition seriously.
“I do shotput, discuss and the 100 meter,” Carmen said. “And long jump.”
For this 10-year-old – it’s also about making friends.
“One of my favorite parts of it is just the sportsmanship and meeting new people like me,” Carmen said.
A balancing act for a little girl with some big dreams.
“To become a paralympic athlete in snowboarding and track,” Carmen said.
Carmen’s family is trying to raise $3,000 for their travel and expenses to attend the Endeavor Games and Junior Nationals this summer. If you’d like to help, use the form at the bottom of this story.
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