This Woman Went From Having Her Legs Amputated To Being A Competitive Athlete.

By Eric M October 18, 2022

Schanbaum was 20 when she was diagnosed with meningococcal Meningitis, and she had to go through several amputations to save her life. You might have to understand the disease to get a good picture of what this lady overcame.

Image: jschanbaum / Isntagram

Meningococcal Meningitis is a rare condition (occurs around 800-1200 times annually), and around 15 out of 100 people who contact it die.

The condition is caused by a bacterium, Neisseria meningitides, that 1 in every ten people carry passively (without any symptoms). About 10-20% of the youth have bacteria in their noses and throats, which doesn’t cause any problems. However, in rare situations, the bacterium is spread through coughing, sneezing, or kissing, among other forms of sharing secretions.

Once the bacteria enter the bloodstream, the patient has an overwhelming blood infection, making it a potentially deadly condition. Schanbaum started feeling ill after doing some homework and decided to take a nap. She started vomiting, her whole body was hurting, and she couldn’t walk without support.

Her sister made arrangements and was rushed to the hospital after 14 hours of sickness. She had already collapsed and couldn’t get up. On the next day, Schanbaum was put into a medically induced comma.

Image: Spiroview Inc / Shutterstock

She said she didn’t remember anything else except waking up to a red rash on her limbs that turned purple and black. She even recalls that she looked like she was wearing gloves up to her elbows and black knee-highs.

Doctors explain that the body sends blood to the vital organs in such a condition, meaning that the peripherals start losing blood supply. They then develop gangrene and need to be amputated as soon as possible.

Schanbaum was released from the hospital after seven months, and in 2009, she had already got prosthetic legs and had learned how to walk on them.

In 2010, she had already learned how to ride the bike with the help of her prosthetist, trainer, and family. She loved riding the bike and soon competed in racing competitions and trained hard enough to become better. In 2011, she secured Gold in the 2011 USA Paralympic Road National Championships. Schanbaum recently took a break from cycling competitions to raise awareness on Meningitis to help those with the condition.