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OPAF First Story: Featuring Kristan Seaford


It started with a First Swim Clinic in Charlotte, NC in 2015. Kristan Seaford had not been in the water since losing both arms below the elbow and one leg below the knee due to a devastating infection that nearly took her life. As she puts it, she had “no idea how I would or could survive in the water.” But, her instructor- two-time World Champion Triathlete Mabio Costa, coached her through her fears.


“I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared, before or since,” Kristan recounted of the experience. Sitting at the edge of the pool, without her prostheses, she was told to jump in; jump into a 12-foot pool without the limbs that used to carry her through the water.

Mabio had told Kristan what to expect: that she would sink to the bottom, where she should push off and swim to the top as fast as she could. “I doubted that he would go through all of this just to watch me drown,” she shared.

Pushing past her fear, Kristan took the plunge. “It happened JUST like he said it would. I sank to the bottom. I pushed off, and I swam as fast as I could to the surface. I lifted my head, and I heard a boisterous cheer,” she explained.

Sitting in the bleachers near the pool were her husband and kids, clapping with big smiles on their faces. She did it! And, seeing what was possible, Kristan didn’t stop there. She went on to participate in First Climb, First Dance, First Cycle, and additional First Swim clinics. She has embraced each experience and used them to build her own skills beyond the clinic environment.

“The OPAF First Clinics have empowered me,” Kristan said. “I’ve tried things I never thought I’d do again, and tried things I’ve never tried before and never dreamed I could or would when I was able-bodied,” she added. “You convinced me that I can still be an athlete.”

Kristan shared that she has learned several things about herself participating in First Clinics including: “I am brave, I can be a risk-taker, and I can do just about anything that I want to do.” She has also learned a lot about “the strength of the human spirit” saying, “The other participants inspire and encourage me to keep going, to keep trying, and to keep smiling. They’ve proven to me, time and time again, that amputees are, as a rule, the most amazing people on the planet!”

What would Kristan say to someone considering a First Clinic? “Stop ‘considering’ and talking yourself out of going and just go! You won’t be sorry!”

2019 Dale Yasukawa Scholarship Winner Nicki Chamerlain-Simon

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OPAF & The First Clinics is pleased to announce that Nicki Chamberlain-Simon has been selected the winner of the 2019 Dale Yasukawa Scholarship. 
Nicki is expected to graduate from Northwestern University’s Master program in Prosthetics & Orthotics in March 2020.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Engineering (Biomedical Engineering) from Rice University with a semester abroad spent in Spain at the Universidad Carlos Ill de Madrid. She also  has  clinical research and volunteer experience, both here and in Costa Rica.

OPAF Press Releases

For recent OPAF Press Releases, please click HERE.

January 01, 2019

OPAF, January, 2019

Laugh for OPAF, AOPA is Gold Sponsor, Feet First, First Stride from Wisconsin to Florida, and More.

December 01, 2018

OPAF, December, 2018

OPAF Giving, ABC Now Corporate Gold Sponsor, Introduction of 2019 Officers, and Featured Sponsor College Park.

November 01, 2018

OPAF, November, 2018

UTSW Students Host First Kick and First Swim Clinics, OPAF Receives Grant from US Masters Swim, and Featured Sponsor Allard.

October 01, 2018

OPAF, October, 2018

OPAF First Things First Training and Clinic in Indiana, Featured Sponsor WillowWood, First Volley with Celerity in Oklahoma City, First Stride Training and Clinic with Prosthetic Center for Excellence in Las Vegas, Success of Fall Events, and More.

September 01, 2018

OPAF, September, 2018

Legends of OPAF returns, First Bid Silent Auction Fundraiser, 2018 Thranhardt Golf Classic, Wheelchair Tennis at the Winston Salem Open, Event Calendar, and More.

July 01, 2018

OPAF, July, 2018

New Website Launch, 2018 Thranhardt Golf Classic, Featured Sponsor Endolite, Amputee Coalition First Swim and First Dance, UW First Swing Learn to Golf, OPAF Board of Directors Nominations, and More

June 01, 2018

OPAF June, 2018

First Swim Training with Credits, Sponsor College Park, First Swim featuring Kristan Seaford, How to Host a First Clinic, 2018 Dale Yasukawa Scholarship Winner, and More.

May 01, 2018

OPAF May, 2018

OPAF Names Mabio Costa as First Swim Director, Sponsor Ottobock, Lawall O&P Largest Clinic, and More

April 01, 2018

OPAF April, 2018

First Stride offers O&P CEUs, Sponsor Ossur, and More

March 01, 2018

OPAF March, 2018

New Orleans Wrap Up, Sponsor Proteor, More

February 01, 2018

OPAF February, 2018

Sponsor American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, New Orleans Silent Auction, Buffalo Wild Wings Promotion, More

January 01, 2018

OPAF January, 2018

Sponsor Prosthetic Center of Excellence (PCE), Spreading the Word about O&P, More

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