Rose Siggins needs a new skateboard -- and it isn't to master the latest trick. A married mother of two and part-time mechanic in Pueblo, Colo., Siggins has spent nearly her whole life without her lower body. She mostly gets around by skateboard. But years of walking on her hands and pushing have ravaged her arm joints.
"I’m developing arthritis and my big fear is ending up in a wheelchair," she told Closer recently. "My skateboard’s so important to me -- it is the difference between feeling trapped and feeling free. I couldn’t get by without it. And the kids think it’s cool!"
As Siggins seems to have done most of her life, she's tackling this obstacle head-on. She has started a drive to raise money for a what she's calling her Freedom Board. It will be lighter in weight, higher above the ground, equipped to conquer all terrains and have more surface area to accommodate her torso.
In the meantime, Siggins told The Huffington Post that she's adapting. "Getting around is slower these days," she wrote Friday in an email. "I take my time and prioritize things that need to get done. Thankfully my kids are not babies and can help me out when needed. ... Things get done at my pace and if the family objects then they can help me get it done."
She was born with sacral agenesis, a deformation of the spine that can limit use of the legs. She had her legs amputated at the hip at age 2 and learned to walk on her hands by age 3. She later had prosthetic legs but preferred getting around on her skateboard and performing everyday activities without the artificial limbs, according to reports.
Self-conscious during her teen years, Siggins focused on becoming an auto mechanic, she told the filmmakers of "Extraordinary People." (Watch a 2007 episode featuring her below.) In 1997, she met Dave Siggins, a 5-foot-11 auto parts store employee, and the following year, they were shocked to learn she was pregnant. Siggins has her reproductive equipment intact, and, as Closer noted, she and her now-husband enjoy a "normal sex life."
Doctors warned that someone with her condition had never successfully given birth, and that her organs could be crushed. But, Siggins delivered Luke with relatively little fuss in January 1999. The couple married in July of that year. Then, another pregnancy six years later had medical experts sounding the alarm again. "I told her what I thought but I don't think she appreciated what I said," said Dr. Kevin Weary in the documentary.
It isn't Suggins' way to be told no. "A lot of people with disabilities feel that life owes them something, and I was raised in a way that no one owes you a dime," she said. "The world doesn't owe you anything. This is what you have and you use your resources and you get through life. My personal opinion is, get up and go for it. Just do it."
A shockwave of problems emerged the second time around. She couldn't breathe properly and was nearly bedridden. After the birth of Shelby, named for her favorite car, Siggins had her appendix and gallbladder removed, then suffered through the onset of diabetes and pancreatitis, Closer wrote.
Through it all, Siggins survived. These days, she makes breakfast for Luke, now 13, and Shelby, now 6, gets them to school (in a modified vehicle) and runs a host of errands. But her shoulders, elbows and wrists are feeling the strain when she uses the skateboard. She needs one that's easier to operate to maintain her freedom.
"This is not your everyday normal skateboard but honestly nothing in my life has ever been normal," she wrote at her Freedom Project website.
As of Friday, donors had given $2,069 for the new board, according to her Facebook page. Siggins said it will cost in excess of $8,000.
Gia Romano gave $20. "I am humbled by you -- anything to help!" Romano wrote.
Siggins, 39, has that effect on people. For her, a wheelchair or a Segway is not an option. And who would tell Siggins what to ride anyway?
"I have used a skateboard all of my life," she wrote on the website. "Why would I stop using it now?"