Lacey Jai Henderson was just nine years old when her leg was amputated above the knee in a lifesaving measure after the diagnosis of a rare soft tissue tumor. It was a tough time for a young girl, but Lacey’s focus wasn’t on the negative. Instead, raised with the mindset that if you want something in life you’ll find a way to make it happen – no matter the odds against you – she went on to Denver University majoring in Spanish, minoring in French and international studies, and excelling as a division 1 cheerleader.

At the age of 22 Lacey began competing in track and field for the first time since her amputation, and she is quickly making her mark. Currently the American record holder in her competition categories for the 200m and the long jump, Lacey also has her sights on breaking the American record for the 100m. Lacey followed her father’s footsteps, a national decathlon champion and Olympic candidate who went on to coach the pole vault, by clearing six feet on her first try and later setting a world record at that event.

It’s been a whirlwind of contests, adventures, and victories over the months, and Lacey has to smile every time she reflects on how unceremoniously it all began.

“I hope my life experience can help others. I always share that life is so happy, just embrace it and recognize a blessing in disguise. You, too, can learn to fly.”

Location: Phoenix, AZ and Denver, CO

Favorite Exercise: Olympic Lifts.

Favorite Vegetable: Cauliflower

Favorite Way to Center: Tarot cards

Favorite Book: House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

Favorite YouTube Video: Cats get tickled!

Personal Motto: Even when you land – keep flying.

Lacey’s Daily Routine:

  • 7:30a – time with my cards and breakfast
  • 8:30a – on the track warming up
  • 9:45a – jump practice in the sand
  • 12:00p – at the gym, quick lunch
  • 12:30p – lifts
  • 1:30p – physio/rehab/snack
  • 2:30p – solid 30 min snooze
  • 3:00p – smoothie/read and chill
  • 5:00p – start making dinner, listen to a podcast
  • 5:30p – eat, watch a little news
  • 6:30p – go to the movies or meet up and get nails done with friends
  • 7:30p – grocery run
  • 8:00p – second dinner/snack
  • 8:30p – Epsom soak
  • 9:00p – watch Seinfeld get ready for bed
  • 10:30p – lights out and get ready for another day!

What is the most important part of your daily routine?

I think finding the time to center myself. When your job is performance based – you need to find ways to unload that stress and remind yourself that as a *human* you are not validated only by your performances.
What is your #1 wellness habit?

Stay in touch with your body. ESPECIALLY with nutrition, sleep and rehab, during hard weeks of training. Take out time to do the extra stuff to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Whose “O” would you most love to see?

Obama’s or Beyoncé’s. I have to remind myself that we have the same amount of hours in the day – but sometimes I run out of time to even get to the grocery store or answer emails!! They get SO MUCH DONE ALL THE TIME!

What is the best piece of health advice you’ve ever received?

Keep exploring until you find what is right for you.

What is your favorite part about living a healthy lifestyle?

When you feel great – demanding your body to move feels almost effortless.

What’s your biggest wellness challenge? How do you address it?

Constantly being prepared with the right food. My body reacts well to constant small meals from 200-300 calories about six to eight times a day. The right food needs to always be ready.

If you could give one piece of health advice to your future kids, what would it be?

Just be flexible with experimenting and patient to see results.

Lacey Jai Henderson is a USA Paralympian Track & Field World Record Holder. For more inspiration from Lacey, follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and check out her website here.

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