Maryland Heights, MO (KMOV) — On the surface, Madelyn Hubbs is your typical teenager.
“I love all science classes: anatomy, biology, AP Bio, I also love math, I really love school,” said Hubbs.
She is enjoying life and awaiting the end of her senior year at Pattonville High school.
Hubbs said, “I’m super excited to study at Maryville and study occupational therapy, meet new people live on campus.”
Madelyn’s mother, Melissa, knows Madelyn has the drive to succeed. Melissa says her daughter is “a go-getter, (she’s) unstoppable, that is true being born tens weeks early, unstoppable.”
After that premature birth, Madelyn faced some setbacks at the start of her life.
Melissa Hubbs said, “It was a big shock. My husband and I did not have anything because she still had 10 more weeks to go.”
Her family says Madelyn has always gotten back on the horse when any sort of health problem tried to get in her way. But her chosen sport during the spring season still had her mother worried.
“It’s a little scary with water polo because it is co-ed and it can be a very rough sport that is out there even if you are just a girl, let alone a girl with just one arm,” said Melissa Hubbs.
That’s right, Madelyn Hubbs plays water polo without her left arm.
“In the beginning, it was a lot harder for me than swimming because of the upper body strength you have to keep your head above water and use your arm but my coaches were really accommodating,” said Madelyn.
Her water polo coach at Pattonville, Tom Crockett, says, “It was awesome to have Madelyn in the pool because she goes just as hard as anyone else does in the water, Madelyn usually draws a smiley face on her nub, and she takes it in stride.”
Her mother says her attitude now was forged by lessons learned growing up limb different.
“There have been a few times where things were hurtful in kindergarten she came off the bus in tears and I could tell something was wrong,” said Melissa Hubbs.
So now Madelyn speaks at elementary schools across the area about bullying and acceptance.
She says, “You know we are all different in our own unique ways, just some of us do things a little different than others.”
Since right after she was born, Madelyn has been learning how to do things differently at Shriners Hospital for Children.
Melissa is grateful for Shriners saying, “There was no one else we could turn to until we got connected to Shriners Hospital.”
Now the entire Hubbs family spends their time giving back to Shriners.
“To me, it’s meant more than the medical side of things. They have really given me my confidence to go out and try the things I want to do like swimming and water polo,” said Madelyn.