KELLY CARTWRIGHT

The story of triumph over adversity

Born in Geelong Victoria to an English mum and Australian dad, Kelly was a highly active kid, playing every sport possible after her passion for Netball.

At the tender age of 15, after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in her right knee, she was forced to make a decision that would change the direction of her life. In November 2004, faced with the option of amputation or radical surgery to remove the cancer Kelly had her right leg amputated.

After a painstaking 3 months of rehabilitation, she was fitted with a prosthetic leg. Having learnt to walk again, and facing the reality that her netball career was over, she looked for a new direction. That direction was running.

With a growing passion for running, Kelly’s training intensified in pursuit of her next goal – to be the best above-knee amputee 100m sprinter in the world. Adding to her fast-growing list of achievements Kelly became the first above-knee amputee woman to climb to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2009. 2012 was by far Kelly’s biggest year. Drawing on all her training, she rose to the top in Long Jump, setting a new world record; claimed the gold medal; and ran a personal best in the 100m to claim silver in London.

After receiving the Order of Australia Medal, her drive for accomplishment focused towards powerlifting and set new Australian records at the National Championships, World Championships, and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

While the trophy cabinet is looking healthy, Kelly's ultimate and most proud achievement has no doubt been the birth of her boys that will forever sit at the top.

Kelly has been an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Foundation Australia, Rare Cancers Australia and The START Foundation assisting amputees in reaching their sporting dream. Kelly is in demand as a motivational speaker and is having a huge impact as a health and fitness model, and being a stong advocate in normalizing all shapes, sizes and disabilities. 

As I chase the pursuit of Olympic success back in the Long Jump, my weird and quirky personality is fuelled by my family, and my passion to show them that anything in life is accessible.

"Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder."

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