ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Justin Beauchesne lost his limbs before his 2nd birthday. He’s only known life without arms and legs. He's never let it stop him from chasing his dreams.
“There was a lot of uphill battle that a lot of people don’t have as a young child,” he said. “It’s a lot of mind over matter.”
That’s the mindset he hopes other amputees adopt after hearing about his active lifestyle.
Beauchesne has been skateboarding since he was 3. His life’s passion led him to a life as a professional on a board.
“When I was on the skateboard it was just me. I was pushing myself to be a better person through skating,” he said.
These days, Beauchesne, is a social director for a nonprofit group called Amp Ventures, which aims to encourage amputees to chase their passions and get active. The group encourages amputees to try things like rock climbing, skating and more.
The motto is simple: "Everyone deserves to live an active lifestyle among their peers."
He’ll take that message on the road this month when he visits the X-Games in Minneapolis. He’ll put on adaptive skateboarding clinics for amputees there.
He doesn’t want people with missing limbs to think they have to miss out on life.
“I get goosebumps from the idea of going,” said the life-long athlete. “To see (adaptive skateboarding) mainstreamed is just words cannot explain the joy and the happiness that I have for what is to come with the X-Games as well as what’s to come with adaptive sports.”
This is the first year the X-Games will feature an adaptive skating competition. The events begin Wednesday. Beauchesne will do clinics beginning Aug. 4.
Beauchesne still skates. He frequents a park in downtown St. Petersburg near the Orthotic and Prosthetic Center on 5th Avenue, where he serves as a patient advocate, walking new amputees through the mental and physical process of losing a limb.
The tricks he performs on his board always grab able-bodied skater’s attentions.
“Once you’re a skateboarder, you’re a skateboarder. It’s a passion,” said Beauchesne. “I typically go to the handstands. That’s the crowd pleaser.”
Beauchesne hopes his inspirational journey from a kid with no limbs to skating professional to amputee advocate lands him a segment on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" someday.
Until then, he’ll continue to try to urge amputees to chase their dreams through Amp-Ventures.
If you’d like to support Amp-Ventures so amputees can try new athletic challenges, visit them on their website.