Vic amputee chases Paralympic dream

Karen O'Sullivan

Vic amputee chases Paralympic dream

A Victorian mother who made the difficult decision to have her leg amputated says it has given her a second chance at life.

Amanda Reynolds wants to represent Australia at the next Paralympics, and says she is not viewing disability as a hindrance, instead embracing it as a new beginning.

Today, life could not be better for the 42-year-old, but she too understands an existence shrouded by darkness.

For 20 years the vivacious mother-of-two, of Dandenong, lived with depression, chronic pain and an addiction to prescriptive drugs following complications from a dislocated knee.

"Below the knee on the right leg just wasn't working," Amanda's husband Wayne said. "It was a dead weight."

Together, Amanda's family decided to amputate her right leg at the knee.

"The boys said 'mum if it means no leg and no drugs, then let's do it," Amanda said.

For Amanda, there was no alternative.

"Honestly, I don't think I would be here," she said.

Since the amputation two years ago, the changes have been dramatic.

"It's brought us closer together," Wayne said, adding: "It got us fitter because we're trying to keep up with her."

Amanda has taken up kayaking and is the national K-1 Champion over several distances.

She is training to compete at the world championships in July.

If she is successful in the tournament in Moscow, Amanda hopes to go one step further and represent Australia at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Her coaches expect her to go all the way.

"I'm pretty sure she's going to be making us proud," coach Steven Vegh said.

The way Amanda lives her new life is an inspiration to others.

"Every time she comes in, she's got a new story, a new activity," Prosthetist Nathaniel Kenyon said. "It makes me want to go out and try them as well."

"Everybody's got the opportunity. You've just got to have the courage to take it," Amanda said.

Brock is just happy to have his mum back.

"She's very inspirational, always happy and always wanting to help," he said. "If someone's having a bad day just go to mum, she'll make you smile."