Life Connected

‘Bionic Ninja' Faces Challenge in Stride

Anastasia Lenske is not letting a congenital leg deformity keep her down.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A local woman is adjusting to needing help from the people she made a career of helping.

"Bionic Ninja" Anastasia Lenske is training for what just might be the most grueling challenge she's ever faced: surgery to straighten her legs, followed by intense physical therapy. She's determined to resume her career as a firefighter EMT.

"Whether it's the treatment we provide, whether it's a rescue, or just giving them a hug to try and help them get through that moment, is absolutely the best feeling in the world," Anastasia Lenske said. "It just makes life worth it. It does."

She's equally as passionate about returning to compete on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior." Her husband is supporting her every step of the way.

"The public needs to see that anybody can do anything if you really put your heart and mind to it, and she's a perfect example," husband and fellow firefighter Shawn Lenske said.

Shawn Lenske knew what others did not: pain was becoming his wife's enemy and not because of the rigorous training but because of a congenital leg deformity.

"It’s called miserable malalignment syndrome. It's femoral anteversion and tibial torsion. So my femurs rotate inward so that my knees face each other," Anastasia Lenske said.

It's a condition she's had since birth.

"Doing something as minimal as squats is hard for me. That's really hard emotionally I think more than it is physically, because I'm used to training at a higher level," Anastasia Lenske said about her current challenges.

In June she had the first of two surgeries to straighten her right leg. An external fixator with rods and screws was used to stabilize her bones as they heal.

With the same procedure an osteotomy was performed on the left leg on Dec. 19. Her determination to regain her mobility inspires the very people focused on helping her bounce back.

"It's 20 percent physical, 80 percent right here and right here," Genesis Orthopedic Clinic owner Ray Camacho said as he pointed to his heart and head. "She's got that 80 percent easily. The physical part is gonna come."

The couple is also giving back by publicly sharing their personal lives, including meeting on the fire lines, marriage and family, surgical decisions and rehab, while documenting their journey.

"He's my biggest cheerleader, on the sidelines, too," Anastasia Lenske said while smiling at her husband.

"We vowed to take care of each other in sickness and in health, and here we are," Shawn Lenske added.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical bills. If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you may do so here. Please note that GoFundMe takes a percentage of all revenue generated in the form of platform and other fees.

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