Most of our days start with waking up and getting out of bed. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you probably take both for granted. Robert Rodriguez was born with a birth defect that ended with him losing one of his legs. So, naturally, he dedicated his life to competitive running at the highest level possible. Rob is living proof that there truly are no limits to getting what you want once you set your mind to it.
Childhood can be a Tough Teacher
Robert grew up feeling like he had something to prove, “It wasn’t easy, I had to fight a lot growing up in New York, showing people that I was strong mentally and physically...Back in the day, technology wasn't what it is today. Prosthetics weren't seen on TV, and just weren't part of everyday society. I felt like an alien, an outcast. I always wanted to prove myself, and did so through activities and sports that I played. It was a way to show that even though I was missing a leg, I was still a full person” he says. He began to rapidly excel at a young age, and soon found himself competing at a high level. Year after year Rob competed and stuck to his strict training regimen. Before he knew he ended up on Team USA as a world class athlete, despite his disability.
A Dream Comes True
“To compete for Team USA all around the world is something I can't explain. I've watched other athletes on TV and online, and envisioned myself being there…And now, to be on that stage, the worldstage, representing our country and showing people what I can do, it's a dream come true” he said after being asked how it feels to be a part of Team USA. When questioned as to what he has learned he said, “My condition has taught me to see life from a different perspective and understand what others may be going through.” Due to his unique life experiences Robert felt inclined to start his own organization that is geared toward helping those born with disabilities cope with their condition. It has evolved since inception to now include coaching as well as mentoring programs.
Giving Back - Helping Others
Robert defines a FighterHeart as being able “...to mentally, physically and emotionally push through any circumstance and become your best self.” Many may say that Robert was dealt a bad hand in life, but after meeting him you realize immediately that he doesn’t let anything hold him back. “I've had to exemplify being a fighter and having a fighter's heart my entire life… I lost my leg when I was young to a birth defect, and I've had a lot of circumstances that I've had to push through; overcoming a house fire, being a victim of abuse, constantly having to prove myself and show people what I can do instead of what I can’t do” says Robert.
It is clear that Robert Rodriguez is a rare breed, when asked his message for the world he said, “The toughest wars are given to the strongest warriors. Stay focused and understand that even though something might seem like the end, it is often a new beginning.”