2021 Paralympic Games: Incredible story of teenage swimmer whose father tried to KILL her with a suicide bomb at age 1
A teenage Paralympic swimmer has shared her seemingly impossible journey from miraculously surviving a suicide attack at the hands of her own father as a baby, to the world stage at the Tokyo Games.
Haven Faith Shepherd, now 18, was blown 10 meters into the air in 2004 in an explosion caused by her deranged father, who had attached a bomb to his own body and unthinkably to his wife.
Both were killed in the family’s thatched-roof hut in Vietnam.
Her parents were having extramarital affairs, Mrs. Shepherd was later told, and her father bought the bombs when he could no longer bear their situation, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A teenage Paralympic swimmer and model has shared her seemingly impossible journey from miraculous survival in a suicide bombing attack by her own father as a baby to the Tokyo Games
Haven Shepherd, 18, realized a goal she set herself at 13 by swimming in the Paralympics on Saturday morning
Miss Shepherd told in chilling detail how her father also grabbed her, then only 16 months old, before detonating the bombs.
In the explosion that followed, Haven suffered devastating burns, injuries and blood loss, but was fortunately thrown from his arms and survived.
Miss Shepherd was rushed to hospital where both her legs were immediately amputated and her head was shaved. dig the shrapnel from my scalp.”
Strangers paid for her medical care and surgery, but because her grandparents were so poor, they could not afford the cost of the care. She was adopted by an American family, Rob and Shelly Shepherd.
Rob Shelly carries little Haven on a plane in Saigon in 2004, six months after she nearly died in a horrific suicide attack by her deranged father. Mr Shelly and his wife adopted Haven
After nearly being murdered by her own father, Haven Shepherd has become a disability advocate, athlete, motivational speaker and model.
Stunning photos show little Haven in the weeks after she somehow survived two devastating bomb explosions that killed both her parents. Haven with her adopted father Rob Shepherd, whom she calls her hero
Miss Shepherd had to learn to walk on prosthetic legs while growing up in a new country.
She learned to swim in the family backyard pool in Missouri.
Inspired to participate in sports by her six athletic siblings – she has four sisters and two brothers – she decided to swim over run, which she found painful.
Haven Faith Shepherd poolside in Tokyo for her first race at the Paralympics
Haven Shepherd with her father Rob, whom she calls her ‘hero’
In 2013, at just nine years old, she vowed to one day compete for her adopted country at the Paralympic Games.
Since then, she has become a motivational speaker, athlete, model, brand ambassador, and disability advocate.
Miss Shepherd has no grudges over what happened.
‘That’s a life I’ve never lived; I don’t remember,” Haven said People magazine.
Instead, she sees herself as an example of finding “beauty from the ashes.”
Haven Shepherd takes a break from strength training
This month she fulfills her lifelong dream in Tokyo.
She will compete in five swimming events: the 100m breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly, the 50m freestyle and the 200m individual medley.
On Saturday, her first day of competition in the individual medley, in which she has a medal chance, she posted an inspiring message on Instagram.
Haven Shepherd walking along the beach with her father
‘Today is my first game here in competition. The truth is that for me this whole experience is not about the last place I receive, but about the journey I took to get here.
“I could have spent the last six years of my life sitting because it’s easier than walking, or complaining because it’s easier than being grateful, or quitting because it’s easier than moving on.”
‘But I didn’t.
“I decided to keep moving and for today I’m pretty excited about where it’s all led me.
“Remember… if you can’t run, walk… if you can’t walk, crawl… if you can’t crawl… or hate to run… swim! But whatever happens… move!’