DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

ONE HAND, NO PROBLEM

Amputee

Steve Howe

Little did she know that this medicine was classified as a part of the thalidomide family that left hundreds of thousands of children with birth defects

My name is Steve Howe. I was born with a birth defect that left me missing my right hand. When my mother was pregnant with me the OBGYN MD gave her some medicine to subside her prolonged nausea called Benedictine. Little did she know that this medicine was classified as a part of the thalidomide family that left hundreds of thousands of children with birth defects. I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada with my father, mother, brother and sister. My brother raced motocross every weekend and that is where my love for motorcycles began. When I was three years old, I remember my father bringing home a blue ItaliJet, a yellow pair of Suzuki riding pants, an open faced DG helmet and a red chest protector. As I anxiously waited to ride my motorcycle we had to overcome a few obstacles first. One of the obstacles was switching my throttle to the left side and making it twist the correct way. That didn’t pose too much of a challenge as my father and one of the local rider’s father (Tom Hart, Carey Hart’s dad) fabricated a throttle for me. The biggest obstacle was more of a challenge. How was I to hold on? This was more difficult to solve as we tried several different devices. One of the contraptions was a holster that allowed me to buckle my hand into it. The problem was, when I crashed, it would drag me along with the bike. As we tried several different concepts none of them seemed to be effective. I eventually just put a wristband on and shoved my right wrist through the handle bar and front break assembly. This seemed to be the most sturdy and safest way to hold on.

As I raced motorcycles from age 3-16 years of age, I accomplished many goals that seemed to initially be unachievable for a kid missing his right hand

As I raced motorcycles from age 3-16 years of age, I accomplished many goals that seemed to initially be unachievable for a kid missing his right hand. I was a nominee for the top youngest riders in Las Vegas, I was sponsored by Team Green Kawasaki and ranked number 3 in the Western Region. I placed in the top three in my motocross class multiple times throughout my racing career. When I was 16 years old we moved to Colorado, which did not allow me to race anymore, as it was not a local sport in that part of the state. I stopped racing for approximately 16 years. As I grew older, I focused on college, a career, getting married and starting a family; however, my desire to ride never diminished. At the age of 32 I started riding again and I grew even more passionate about the sport. As I started to get more comfortable and confident, I started racing in local races. I was winning the intermediate classes that grew my confidence. The more my confidence grew, the more I raced and loved it even more. In 2012 I raced Mammoth and qualified in 6th place out of 40 riders in the first heat.

My journey along the way with my handicap has been a journey that I am proud to say I would not change a thing

Now at the age of 35, I am a Registered Nurse with my Master’s Degree in Nursing and Healthcare Education. I am in a position to help others during vulnerable times in their lives. I knew motivating and helping others was something that I wanted to do from an early age. With some encouragement from my patients, family and friends, I won the 2013 extremity games which are extreme sports for people that are missing limbs or are paralyzed. With a broken scapula I also raced the 2013 X-Games in which I placed 5th. In 2014 I raced the “Rally and Race of Heros” which supported disabled veterans that lost limbs while fighting for our Country. During this race I placed 1st in the upper limb loss category and placed 3rd overall following close behind Doug Henry and Mike Schultz. My journey along the way with my handicap has been a journey that I am proud to say I would not change a thing. I have learned so many things, met so many inspirational people and have been able to inspire and motivate others myself. I feel we all have a special place in life and I have found mine. Being a father, husband and avid motocross racer. I have been able to walk with my head held high continuing my journey to be the man I was brought here to be.

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