By Josh Saunders
A double amputee who is lucky to be alive after contracting deadly meningitis has defied the odds to become a sports star thanks to her twin sister.
Pamela Ann Reynolds, from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, USA, was 10-months-old when her nose, cheeks, ears and limbs turned black and she was given a zero percent chance of survival.
Her parents rushed her to hospital after she was extremely lethargic and areas of her skin turned white, before developing to a point where it looked like ‘frostbite’.
After being diagnosed with meningitis, her condition worsened futher with 80% of her body affected, leading her to need nine fingers and both of her feet amputated.
At one-year-old Pamela was fitted with a prosthetic and determined to copy her twin Suzanne she mastered the use of her new feet.
Suzanne encouraged and challenged her sister to play sports and now Pamela surfs, plays football and is on the school volleyball team.
Pamela, 17, a student, said: “My life had been saved but I needed a double ankle disarticulation and nine of my fingers removed, from there I had to relearn how to do a lot of activities.
“My mum believes that my twin would serve as a perfect example of what I should be able to do at my age, she never let me missing fingers or feet serve as an excuse.
“If Suzanne could climb so did I, when she ate with a fork so did I, I would figure out situations using my sister as a guide.
“I wasn’t allowed any excuses and had to learn how to adapt, from there I got into softball, soccer, volleyball and more.
“Thanks to my twin sister I’m really good at sports, we always used to practice together.
“With us being twins we have always been competitive with one another, but that helps us to become better and motivate each other too.”
After Pamela was rushed to hospital her whole family was quarantined for 24-hours, fearing they would contaminate others with the deadly viral infection.
She said: “I was really unresponsive to any stimulant and wasn’t eating, after my skin started blanching I was taken into hospital.
“In quarantine my skin looked blotchy and dirty, not like something you could wipe off, it accelerated really quickly across a lot of my body.
“Once I was diagnosed with meningitis doctors didn’t believe there was anything else they could do, immediately my extremities were turning black.
“It looked like severe frostbite and burns, my nose, cheeks, ears, feet fingertips.
“There was a slim chance of survival if I tried an experimental drug. It healed 70% of the affected areas on my body, I didn’t have any brain, sight or hearing damage, it was a miracle.”
After having her amputations, Pamela was fitted with prosthetics at one-year-old and from there has been adapting life around her disabilities – refusing to let anything hold her back.
Pamela said: “The only thing that really affects me about my body is phantom pain, which is where my foot itches or hurts despite not being there.
“I think it’s very important not to judge people no matter what, because you have no idea what they are capable of.”
Pamela started surfing at the age of five and from there progressed onto other sports from football to volleyball.
She says in the past people have underestimate her sporting capabilities because she used prosthetics but she’s proven them wrong.
Pamela said: “In the past some people have thought it would be easier to get past me in soccer and beat me in volleyball, but they are wrong, I’m as good as everyone else.
“Once people play against me in sport they realise how good I am and don’t come near me again, it’s because I’ll do whatever it takes to win and train really hard.”