Godsy finds her footing


Julia Bailey

Ava Godsy, sophomore, really isn’t any different than most 15-year-old girls, but she’s had to deal with more than the typical challenges a teenager has had to face to this point in her life. So far, Godsy hasn’t let those obstacles stop her from doing anything. Today she says she is less self-conscious and even embraces the fact that she is different than everyone else. Her unique story begins with her first photo.

When Kim Webster, Godsy’s mother, went to her doctor for her four-month sonogram (a visual image of a baby in utero produced from an ultrasound examination), she was shocked to learn her baby girl had a foot condition called “clubfoot.” This deformity of the foot is usually marked by a curled shape or twisted position of the ankle, heel and toes. The doctors also found that Godsy had nerve damage, which made the clubfoot more severe.

While it was a shock to both Kim and husband Michael Godsy, they came to understand that this was not life-threatening and could be improved with surgeries. At six months old, Godsy had the first of five surgeries to adjust her feet. After each procedure she had to wear a cast for months that went up to her knees, causing the regular family routine to be adjusted, because she could not do much for herself.

I got frustrated with myself when I couldn’t do things…my brain would be telling me one thing while my feet told me something completely different.”

— Ava Godsy

“The biggest problem she had was learning how to walk because she had casts on so often that her legs didn’t develop much strength,” Michael Godsy said. “But when she got the casts off, her legs were too weak to support herself, and she would get furious about the fact that she couldn’t pull herself up.”

Throughout her childhood, Godsy had to overcome the hurdles of going to school in a wheelchair and not being able to keep up with the other kids in gym class. She had to face people who stared at her in school for having a brace around her ankle. She often got annoyed with the braces because of the attention it brought to her feet and scars on her legs.

“I got frustrated with myself when I couldn’t do things…my brain would be telling me one thing while my feet told me something completely different,” Godsy said. “It was very frustrating having to wear these braces, especially when I got older because it became more of something that would hold me back. It felt like extra weight and it was uncomfortable.”

Before having to wear the braces, Godsy spent many painful nights in the hospital receiving treatment that would help move her feet to a normal shape. She described the hospital as having white walls, while seeing nothing but ceilings and an operating room where doctors put her under anesthesia that made her sick. When she woke up, she knew she would not be up on her feet again for a while.

“I walked into the hospital thinking this is the last time I was going to be walking for months and it’s all going to go downhill from here,” Godsy said. “I would wake up feeling sick and not really knowing what’s happening, but knowing my family was with me made me feel safe.”

I have always been a motivated and determined person. I wanted to prove people wrong by doing things they said or thought I couldn’t do.”

— Godsy

Those thoughts did not affect her return to elementary school because her parents told her classmates, through presentations, that she was going to be in a wheelchair and have big bright casts that covered the lower part of her legs. According to Godsy, they were understanding and tried to make her feel comfortable.

During elementary school, when she was not in the cast or wheelchair, she decided to join a running team called Girls on the Run and participated in other sports such as softball and soccer. Godsy knew she could not run as fast and keep up with everyone, but just participating was important to her, she said. She currently plays tennis on the JV team at KHS and takes private lessons at Sunset during the off season.

“When I look back in time I have always been a motivated and determined person,” Godsy said. “I wanted to prove people wrong by doing things they said or thought I couldn’t do.”

Although many people have asked about her foot and if there was something wrong, she doesn’t look at it negatively. She walks differently and has scars on her legs that make people stare, but she embraces this.

“Recently I have accepted that this is who I am and I’m not going to try to change it,” Godsy said. “I want other people to feel that everyone is equal and has the same ability to do what they want to do.”

Despite the multiple setbacks she has encountered throughout her life, Godsy feels it has helped her see people in a different light and grow stronger into the person she has become.

“I don’t think of it as a negative aspect of my life,” Godsy said. “It is a part of me and it’s not something people will perceive as an injury and it’s not something I see as an injury…I don’t think of it as anything other than myself.”