What if life suddenly put a limit on what you could do?
While on a run during her last semester of college, SaraMae Hollandsworth slowly, then suddenly, realized something was wrong. As a lifelong athlete, trainer, and self-described “fitness expert,” the feeling that her body was failing did not seem normal.
And it certainly wasn’t.
Hollandsworth was going through multi-organ failure, a condition as serious as it sounds. She was put on life support and placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks. Upon waking, Hollandsworth heard even harder news from her doctor: both of her legs would need to be amputated. ”As someone who loves being active, that was my worst nightmare,” Hollandsworth says.
Fitness and being active had been Hollandsworth’s way to manage a stressful childhood. “I grew up with addiction and mental health problems in my family. Fitness was the anchor to help me grow stronger both mentally and physically,” she shares. Fitness was now going to play another important role—getting Hollandsworth back to where she wanted to be.
“I knew that I was going to need to work on my mind and accept my new normal. The body was the last piece, and that would come in line as long as everything else did,” Hollandsworth explains.
Hesitant at first, Hollandsworth eventually took her first step back into the world she loved. After being in a wheelchair for over a year and a half, she enrolled in a Crossfit program and began lifting weights. “I’ll never forget doing my first back squat. I love weight lifting and this made me feel like ‘me’ again,” Hollandsworth shares.
Getting back into physical shape wasn’t the only benefit. “I admittedly did not have a strong support system and I was still feeling very vulnerable,” Hollandsworth says. “But as I moved through the program, amazing friends started to show up. Now I have a community.”
“She’s always taking you to the edge—then showing you there’s a lot more you have in your tank. There are no excuses. I think when people hear her story, they’re going to be motivated to take control back,” Hollandsworth’s friend shares.
Hollandsworth’s progress back to the world of fitness is powered through the use of prosthetic legs. Even though they’ve been a major help, initial fit and first impressions of this “new normal” were rocky. “I would sit and think of ways I could hide them,” Hollandsworth shares. Yet, after seeing the steps she could take, both literally and figuratively, Hollandsworth had only one word to describe the feeling: “freedom.”
As she worked her way to becoming stronger, Hollandsworth had one last goal to accomplish: running. Collaborating alongside her prosthetist, Greg, the two used trial and error to develop a set of prosthetic legs that had the right heel spring and comfort level for getting back to running.
Curious how the story ends? Follow the link below to watch this inspiring tale and find out how, no matter what happens, you can live a life without limits.