Mikenzie Adams: 11-Year-Old Cheerleader Shares Her Story for Limb Loss Awareness Month
Shortly after Mikenzie Adams was fit with her first above-knee prosthetic leg at 16 months old, she started gymnastics and hasn’t slowed down since. Now, at 11 years old, Adams represents the limb loss and limb difference community on a nationwide scale as the youngest member of ParaCheer Spirit, a national cheer team based out of Illinois, and Spirit Athletics, an all-star, able-bodied cheer team near her hometown of Yermo, California.
Para-cheerleader and gymnast Mikenzie Adams from Yermo, CA, is not your average 11-year-old. Mikenzie was born with a rare condition that results in the partial or total absence of the tibia bone. When she was just a year old, doctors amputated Mikenzie’s right leg above the knee to give her the best chance at an active future, and she hasn’t slowed down since.
At just 16 months old, Mikenzie was fit with her first prosthetic leg, and soon after, she started water sports and gymnastics. Though she has one sound leg and one prosthetic leg, Mikenzie’s balance, strength, and tumbling skills are exceptional. The thousands of hours she’s spent practicing have landed her spots as the youngest member of ParaCheer Spirit, a para cheer team based out of Illinois, and Spirit Athletics, an all-star (able-bodied) cheer team in her hometown and one of the top 10 cheerleading gyms in the country.
Between cheerleading, gymnastics, and wakeboarding, Mikenzie frequently visits her care team at Hanger Clinic in Apple Valley, Calif., where her prosthetist Marco Camarena, CPO, Hanger Clinic Area Clinic Manager, provides adjustments and custom-fit devices to keep up with Mikenzie’s high activity level.
Mikenzie spends a minimum of 7 hours a week in her cheer gym, practices over Zoom with her ParaCheer Spirit team, and tumbles on her own.
Mikenzie and ParaCheer will compete in the 2021 International Cheer Union World Cheerleading Championships this September in Orlando. Her current goal is working on her back tuck, and keeping her eyes set on the prize—improving every day and inspiring others to strive for their dreams.
Watch Mikenzie’s Story on Inside Edition
Raising Awareness, Making a Difference
At such a young age, Mikenzie balances being both an athlete and a kid, and though the pandemic has had a big impact on the sporting world, Mikenzie has stayed focused and not let that slow her down.
To help raise awareness around limb loss and limb difference, Mikenzie has been busy sharing her story with the world.
In 2020, she was featured alongside famous athletes like Lebron James and Serena Williams in Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Us” video. In the commercial, Mikenzie effortlessly performs a round-off tumbling sequence on the beach, and her image merges into one of Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles performing in a huge arena – a nod to Mikenzie’s ultimate goal of cheering in the 2028 Paralympics.
In January 2021, Mikenzie was chosen to represent the limb loss and limb difference community as part of an Athleta Girl photoshoot for the brand’s summer issue. Mikenzie did the photoshoot “to show others with limb loss that they can do anything they put their mind to.”
To learn more about Mikenzie’s story, read the full press release in our Newsroom.
Read Mikenzie’s Story in The Daily Mail
Wowed by her bravery and talent, British-based publication The Daily Mail featured Mikenzie’s story on their website in honor of Limb Loss Awareness Month.
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If you or someone you love is looking for personalized care following amputation, get in touch with a board-certified prosthetist at a Hanger Clinic near you.