By Diana Bejarano
Latina Still Standing
Judy Robles is an example that blessings can sometimes come in disguise, from being a teen mom at the age of 16 to being a motivational speaker and a single mother of five. Her story will encourage and inspire you, as it does me.
It’s a message about overcoming life’s most difficult challenges. Through my own journey and listening to Judy’s story, I have learned that it’s not the difficult situations that determine our character but rather it’s what we do with life’s difficult situations that define us.
Judy Robles was just 16 years old, when she gave birth to her first child. Her life took an unexpected turn, when the child’s father decided to leave -- Judy was faced with a tough situation – having to raise a child on her own, as a teenager.
[caption id="attachment_19496" align="alignleft" width="234"] Wrestler Arizona State Anthony Robles with mother Judy Robles posing in the press room at The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California[/caption]
On July 20, 1988, Judy gave birth to her son. She wasn’t prepared to learn the news about her precious newborn baby boy. Shortly after giving birth to her son, Judy’s parents walked into her hospital room crying and said: Tu hijo no tiene una pierna; they told her that her son was born without one of his legs. Imagine being 16 years old, with a newborn missing a limb and feeling the impact of abandonment and motherhood.
That day Judy made a choice. She chose not to allow any of her circumstances to cause her to break. She determined to not give her child up for adoption to her parents, who had offered to raise him as her brother. She said “he is my child and I will love him and I will raise him.” And she did just that.
She faced the obstacles head on and successfully raised her son to be an independent and strong individual. Last month her baby boy was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame and given the Medal of Courage Award. Anthony is an outstanding athlete who holds an impressive wrestling record. His last year at Arizona State University, he went undefeated with 36 wins and won the NCAA Wrestling Championship at 125lbs. He was also given the prestigious Jimmy V award for Perseverance and named Best Male Athlete with a Disability at the 2011 ESPY Awards.
As Anthony accepted his award at the ESPYs, he gave credit to his mother for having encouraged him to not give up his dream of wrestling, because when he offered to quit school to get a job and help her and his sibling his mom wouldn’t let him quit. She encouraged her son to keep living his dream. And through her support and encouragement, Anthony now has an even more inspirational story to share with the world.
Judy recently faced more difficult obstacles. She lost her husband to a divorce, she lost her home and she lost her health for a while – but she didn’t quit. Even though life hasn’t gotten any easier for this single mother of five, she continues to move forward and she gives credit to her strong faith, friends, and family for helping her to remain steadfast.
Judy’s story is about a dedicated single mother who didn’t allow life’s trials and tribulations to knock her down and keep her down. It’s a story about faith. It’s a story about courage. And like many other Latina single mothers, she continues to work hard to support each of her children in pursuing their dreams.
Her determination and strength makes her a true Latina Still Standing.