Haven Shepherd is a suicide bomb attack survivor. She was just 14 months old when her parents attempted a family suicide along with her. Haven’s father tied a bomb to her and his wife together and detonated it.
Heaven was lucky enough to survive this bomb attack as she was blown away from them when the bomb was detonated and suffered the loss of her legs. Both her biological parents died at the spot.
Haven was taken to a hospital by her grandmother, where doctors had to amputate her legs and she had to stay there for a month before going back home with her grandmother.
The reason for Haven's parents attempted suicide had two-sided stories, out of which one stated that they had Haven as an illicit child and they did not want to get separated from each other and in fear of that, they took the decision to die as a family together.
Haven was adopted by her parents Shelly & Rob shepherd. The couple already had six biological children, but they always wanted to have more kids. Shelly always wanted to go for adoption and after they heard about Haven, after talking her husband into adoption, they both traveled to Vietnam. Shelly said that when they reached there and Haven came into her arms easily that was when she knew that she was supposed to be her daughter.
Haven's father Rob also said that when his wife took Haven into her arms like a mother, it felt like a birthing experience and nothing less than that.
For Haven Shepherd, being in the Shepherd family has been really lucky for her and she is really happy to be a part of this family. Haven opted for sports despite having prosthetic legs. She tried racing but it made her prosthetics sweaty and caused a bit of trouble, later on, she tried swimming as a sport and she just fell in love with it.
Haven believes that she feels really free when she is swimming because she does not need any sort of help and she can stay away from her prosthetics for a while. She even likes her prosthetics as she says she hardly remembers walking on her legs, and her prosthetic legs are just like thigh-high boots for her.
Haven who was swimming since 10 years of age, was so good at swimming by the age of 13 years that the American Paralympic team started to see her as a candidate for national swimming, and for her, this was a time to feel more than an average swimmer.
Haven always wanted to become an athlete. Other than swimming classes and training, she now goes for body training and weight lifting as well for becoming strong enough to reach her next life goal.
Haven has won many competitions and now she is set on her goal to be in the official Olympics games.
Based on the comments of Haven's parents, they say that people always used to come to them thinking they did something good by adopting her, but we believe that she has given back a lot to this family.
Her mother says that she will always be by her side either she makes it to the Paralympics or not and her father is really proud of the impact that their daughter is making by her strong personality and motivation.
Talking about her amputation and life, Haven Shepherd whilst talking to BBC said:
" I had two choices, I could have become a very insecure person that was having her feelings hurt all the time, or I could see it as, 'Oh, you're staring at me because I have really cool legs.' And I do.”
Heaven plans on visiting her grandparents and her village in the future as well. She loves spending time with her mother and soon she will start driving by herself too.
Other than swimming and studying, Haven is also working as a brand ambassador for clothing and swimwear brands and she gives motivational speeches to amputated kids and inspires with her story.
Despite being of a very young age, Haven Shepherd has set an example that nothing can stop you from being happy and successful. She is the kind of inspiration and bravery that everyone needs to watch for life lessons.
We truly believe that she will be the world's best athlete and be a part of the Paralympics soon.
“Never stop dreaming,
never stop believing,
never give up,
never stop trying, and
never stop learning.”
Roy T. Bennett