Anthony Quinn hardly remembers his osteosarcoma treatment, but he sees a reminder of his journey each day. At just 4 years old, Anthony lost his leg shortly after his osteosarcoma diagnosis. But Anthony has never let that hold him back. Today, the 27-year-old is training with big dreams: to one day make it to the Paralympics.
"I've always been competitive and loved sports," Anthony says. "I've always felt that if I was given the opportunity to compete athletically in adaptive sports, I would excel."
Remembering pediatric osteosarcoma treatment
Anthony remembers going to the doctor after hitting his ankle on the coffee table -- an accident that occurred while running around with his older brother and eventually led to his osteosarcoma diagnosis. He remembers how nice the nurses were. He remembers his IV -- which he called "Robot Charlie" -- and the smells of the drugs used to save his life.
And he remembers picking out the color of the cast he would wear after the amputation. After undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, it was clear the cancer wasn't going away. The doctors needed to amputate Anthony's leg to save his life.
His first few steps on crutches were difficult. He fell the first time. He was tired, frustrated and didn't understand. But as he grew, Anthony chose not let the amputation stop him. Inspired by his basketball star older brother, he played basketball in elementary and middle school.
Training after an amputation
But when Anthony made it to high school, he decided not to try out for the basketball team. It was something he always regretted.
After college, he became determined to get back in shape. Anthony purchased a running leg in hopes of participating in some 5Ks and other similar competitions.
Getting back in shape was a slow process, but one that Anthony has learned from.
"The biggest challenge for me is probably patience and courage," he says. "I'm still very new to competitions and not as fast as I would like to be. It's a bit unnerving at times. Maintaining a positive attitude is a must."
But when Anthony discovered the Texas Regional Paralympic Sports through Facebook, he started thinking about competing more seriously. Since then, Anthony has received seven gold and silver medals (mostly gold) in 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 5K races throughout Texas. At the 2014 Texas Regional Paralympic Sports' Texas Regional Games, Anthony qualified for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. He is planning on competing again soon in hopes of qualifying in the 400-meter race as well.
Finding another way to represent his country
Anthony had always wanted to serve in the military, but was extremely frustrated when he discovered his amputation prevented him from doing so. But he's found another way he can represent the U.S.
"I feel indebted to my country and the men and women who sacrificed, some with their lives, in defense of our Constitution," he says. "I love my country and would be honored to represent the U.S. in the Paralympics."
Based on the number of gold medals he's already won, it seems he's well on his way to doing just that.