She’s the bionic woman who roller-skates, lifts weight and snowboards – despite being born without her left hand or foot. Enya van Egmond, 24, has worn a prosthetic leg since she was two, but has never let her disability hold her back.
Despite her disabilities, Enya loves going to the gym, and has three adapted prosthetic legs – one for running, one for walking and one for wearing heels. She has recently received a bionic arm, and although she has always thrived without two hands, Enya says she loves being a ‘bionic woman’ and has a new-found confidence.
Enya, a sports and movement student at Roc Nijmegen University, from Arnhem, the Netherlands, said: “I believe this is how I’m meant to be. I would be boring if I was normal, with two hands and two feet.
“Being born this way has given me so many opportunities and made me more determined, it’s a bit of a superpower. I love being a bionic woman.”
When Enya was born, her parents – Bibi, 57, and Arthur van Egmond, 58 – had no idea their child would be born without two of her limbs. Baby Enya had a ‘few toes’ on her left leg, but before her first birthday these were amputated.
The family were given a couple of possible explanations for Enya’s limb differences – including umbilical cord complications or a twin that died in the womb – but have never been able to give a definitive answer. But this never stopped Enya from feeling ‘normal’ – and she approached life just like any other young child.
Enya said: ““My parents always allowed me to figure things out for myself. Even if it took me an hour to do something that should have taken 10 minutes, they knew I wanted to be able to do it myself and I’m so grateful to them for letting me.
“I’ve never been afraid of anything. I would rather break my leg than not try.”
Enya’s love of sport has only accelerated since her childhood, and she now attends the gym five times a week to work on her weightlifting. Outside of the gym, she enjoys roller skating, mountain biking, longboarding, and running, all with the support of her boyfriend of two years, Yves Litjens, 36.
“I just love the way exercise makes me feel – it’s like anything is possible,” Enya said. “My prosthetics take a lot of impact because I’m always running and jumping, so they do break more than I would like.”
She explained: “It never used to bother me that I didn’t have my hand or foot because I couldn’t do anything to change it. I was more concerned about my red hair and really struggled with that, but I embraced my prosthetics.
“It was only when I saw someone else with a bionic hand and realised how cool they looked compared to mine that I began to struggle. I couldn’t shift the idea in my head that ‘normal’ meant having two hands – and I only had one.”
With her new bionic arm, Enya says she feels empowered to have the decision to have two hands or not. She can navigate most obstacles in life without her arm prosthetic – even lifting weights and riding a bike – but enjoys having the option and variety the bionic arm gives her.
“I wanted to share my journey for myself and to show that being an amputee shouldn’t have to hold you back – there are incredible prosthetics out there which change lives like mine,” Enya said.