Hometown: Carthage, MO
Sport: Swimming
Age: 16

TLDR: Born in Vietnam, Haven lost her legs in a “family suicide” when she was 14 months old. Her mother and father strapped bombs to themselves and embraced Haven, hoping all three would die. The detonation killed both her parents. Haven survived but lost both legs below the knee.

In her own words:
“I always knew I was going to be an athlete because my brothers and sisters were all athletes. The reason why I
got into swimming is because I get to take off my legs and really feel free.”

“As an adult I’d like to go into psychology and work with adolescent girls. We’re always being told we need to love ourselves, but you can’t tell 14- or 15-year-old girls to love themselves when they don’t know how to. You need to find yourself first — find out who you are. Then learn to like yourself, and then you can love yourself.”

”I’ve never been insecure about my legs. I actually enjoy not having legs. People always ask me, ‘How are you so happy all the time?’ I don’t really have answers for them.”

Personal Bests:
■ Silver, 200m medley SM8, 2019 Parapan American Games
Silver, 100m breast, SB7, 2019 Parapan American Games
■ Bronze, 50m freestyle S8, 2019 Parapan American Games
■ 1st, 50m and 100m freestyle, 2018 World Para Swimming World Series

Prosthetist: Loren Decker, Decker Integrated Orthotics and Prosthetics

Social Media:
@havenfaithshepherd on Instagram
@iamhavenshepherd on Facebook

Learn more:
Haven’s Team USA page
Challenged Athletes Foundation
Haven on “We Need to Talk” at CBS Sports
“Enabled: The Haven Shepherd Story” by Michaela Joines
“Haven Shepherd’s Journey Prompted by Suicide” at NBC Sports
“The Girl Who Was Never Meant to Survive” at BBC News
“Haven Shepherd Makes a Splash” at Malala.org
“Haven Shepherd” at Friends of Bethany