Addison Benson, 15, spends her summer days shopping, hanging out with her friends, boating and swimming.
She describes herself as bubbly, passionate and kind.
“I’m a teenage girl, I cry, laugh, fight. I hate school, love school,” Benson said. “I would say I’m just like everybody else but that would be a lie because not everyone is the same. We are all unique.”
Thirteen years ago, Benson was run over by a lawnmower outside of her Laurel home. The accident led to Benson having both of her legs amputated below the knee.
“I could not be alive right now. I’m very lucky, and so I’m going to make the best of what I can. Just because I’m an amputee, that doesn’t slow me down at all,” Benson said.
Benson doesn't have any memory of the accident, she only knows what her family has told her about what happened and she is grateful for that.
“I’m happy I don’t remember because that would be a very traumatic event and it could also lead to phantom pain, and I’m very happy I don’t have that,” Benson said.
While she doesn't have a memory of what happened, she knows that she doesn't fault her mother, who was the driver of the lawnmower. Benson was two years old at the time and ran up behind her mother, who didn't see her and started reversing.
“I never blamed her, ever, and I think on some level she always did (blame herself). And that hurt my heart so much because I never had any resentment towards my mom. She was everything,” she said.
Her mother died suddenly last year. Now, Benson remembers her mother's incredible qualities. One quality she remembers was that her mother always put others first, something Benson admired.
“And that’s the person I want to be. I just want to put others before myself and do everything for her. Be proud for her, see the world for her. Just really like, see the things she never could,” she said.
Benson has fun sharing her story on the social media app TikTok. She makes jokes about her amputations and shows the outfits she wears. She said she has received many messages from people going through a similar situation, or people looking for advice before going through an amputation.
“I’m still learning things every day, but I’ve got it mostly figured out, and I’ve gone over the biggest obstacle which is confidence,” Benson said.
Benson will be going into her sophomore year at Laurel High School and is looking forward to starting softball season.
“I’m doing great like I’m thriving. I want to continue to live in the moment and not let my past define me and weigh on the future," Benson said. "I don’t let anything slow me down and I don’t plan on it.”