Born partially blind and mentally challenged, Loretta Claiborne has overcome tremendous adversity to become a celebrated athlete and inspiration to many. Dr. Robin talks with Loretta, a speaker at Maria Shriver's 2007 Women's Conference, about her life as a child with special needs and her success as an adult competing in the Special Olympics.
Loretta says her childhood was difficult because of her disabilities and because children constantly picked on her. "After being teased and being prodded at and poked at most of my life, I had no self esteem," she says. Loretta says she got into many fights with other children until a counselor noticed that she was a fast runner and got her involved in the Special Olympics. "One day he told me, 'You know you have a lot of good in that heart, you need to put down your hands and you need to use your feet and channel what you have through those feet and your mind,'" she says.
As she found success as an athlete, Loretta flourished and soon became an international star with the Special Olympics. Loretta says she still faces difficult times, but now has the strength and confidence to get through the rough patches in life. "You have to start with yourself—you have to want to pick yourself up," she says. "And, if you are in a rut … you have to have that initiative and drive to pick yourself up and put your feet on the floor."