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What started off as a typical summer day of sharing ice cream at the pool with her friends ended up being a life altering moment for Karsyn Hornby. The young teens drove to the pool to get ice cream without the permission of their parents. Upon safely arriving back at home, what Karsyn calls a “miracle”, the girls took extra caution to park the car in the garage correctly so her parents wouldn’t find out they took it. Hornby stood in the garage and directed her young friend, who was driving, into the garage. In a split second, Karsyn’s life was forever changed when she was pinned between the car and the wall. After two unsuccessful surgery attempts to save her leg, a third was performed amputating her right leg above the knee.
After moving to Casper with her family, Karsyn graduated from KWHS and moved on to earn a Bachelors degree from Montana State University – Billings. Graduating from college at the young age of 20, Karsyn was recently accepted into a graduate program to continue forward on her educational journey. Karsyn is currently working as a personal trainer but finds the time to visit schools to share her motivational message with students. On a recent visit back to Casper, Karsyn spoke to students at Verda James and University Park Elementary schools.
As students walk into the room, it is difficult for them to keep their eyes diverted from the speaker in front of them. Young, vibrant, and athletic, Karsyn Hornby looks like she may be famous.
Her smile lights up the room as she asks the students, “So I can see you’re checking out my hardware, huh?”
After telling the story of how she lost her leg to the students, Karsyn focuses on sharing her message of perseverance and the importance of having a positive attitude. She admits to the students that many days were hard, her attitude wasn’t always the greatest, she had numerous obstacles and often times would cry just getting out of bed. She shares her struggles, as well as her triumphs, and her genuineness and blatant honesty makes her endearing to the students. Unafraid to answer the difficult questions or talk about the hardships of life Karsyn does more than just “talk about” her journey with others…she shares it.
She asks the students about any challenges or problems they are currently facing. Their answers vary in levels of difficulty or intensity but Karsyn is careful to acknowledge each one and assure the students that everyone and everything matters.
“Your hard isn’t any different or better than anyone else’s hard. It’s all hard.”
In her message, students can find the same symptoms of struggle they may be experiencing in their lives. Most importantly, she shares ways to overcome and persevere through those challenges in life. Karsyn encourages the students to be accountable for their own actions and attitude and discusses goal making as a way to make positive changes.
“Start off by making a small goal. Accomplish it and then move forward. I believe the only disability in life in a bad attitude.”