Teena Maddox is a gifted teen who is changing the world one step at a time
Teena Maddox was born in West Palm Beach, Florida on October 9, 1996 to parents Gregory and Maya Maddox. Her life took a turn at the age of six when she was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia, a rare disease that weakens the body’s immune system over time and can lead to organ failure and cancer as well as eventually causing death by around the age of 40.
When did you start running?
I started running when I was in elementary school as a way to release stress and get fit but I had to stop running when my dad died because of my depression and because I didn’t have anyone to run with. When I got to high school, some of my friends were on the cross country team so they convinced me to try it again and this time it changed everything.
What motivated you to run in the first place?
I was inspired to run because I wanted to find out what it’s like to be competitive with other girls, she says. My dad would always tease me, and tell me I’m better than them, but I didn’t really know if that was true or not. Since then, her desire to do well has only grown stronger – she knows there’s more work ahead of her and can’t wait for the challenge.
What made you decide to start running marathons?
I have loved running since I was young. When I was eleven, my dad found me doing bicep curls in our living room with water bottles filled with paint and dirt! He just stood there and shook his head because he knew there was no point in getting mad at me when it was clear I had already established what to do when he wasn’t around!
How has it helped improve your life?
Teena Maddox has helped me realize that no matter how hard it may seem, you can overcome any obstacle. Teena has inspired me to never give up and stand up for what I believe in no matter what others say about me. She has also taught me to have an open mind and not judge anyone based on their appearance or preconceived notions.
Was there ever a moment when you doubted yourself along the way?
In this moment, I had doubts about if what I was doing would work and if people would even appreciate my talent. These doubts made me feel more stressed than anything because I could not answer them for myself and it seemed like no one else could answer them either. The only way that I could push through this doubt was to really remind myself why I started doing what I was doing in the first place.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far?
There are many challenges ahead of me, but I have yet to face them. The only thing I know for sure is that these trials will make me a stronger individual. There are bound to be times when you feel lonely and times when you get frustrated with life in general, but remember that you never walk alone. Don’t let your fears control your destiny; go out there and take chances because if not you then who?
What makes this something worth sharing with others?
Teena is on her way to being accepted into every Ivy League school in the country, has over 10 million followers across social media platforms, and she’s only fifteen years old! She took her parents’ small business (selling wholesale clothing) and turned it into a multi-million dollar operation that includes an e-commerce store, buying sites and brick and mortar locations. Plus, Teena created her own clothing line which features jeans made out of recycled materials.