My name is Diana Hoang and I am the girl whose dream you all helped make come true!!
To give a brief background history of me, I was born with half of my right leg and fingers/hands that never fully developed. After I was born, I went through many surgeries and physical therapy at a very young age, so I do not remember much of what it was like with all the surgeries, but I have some pretty sick scars, as a result.
Growing up, I did not know what to think of my disabilities. All I knew was that I was supposed to hide it and keep to myself. I felt that I had to carry on with my life as “normal” as possible. As a result, I was a very timid kid who wore long pants year round, no matter how hot the weather would be. This all changed when I discovered what it was like to wear a dress for the first time, specifically a blue and purple floral dress-like romper. One summer, my cousin convinced me to go to an art fair with her at Laguna Beach. I was deciding what to wear the night before and I really wanted to wear the romper dress, because of how perfectly it matched with the theme of the art fair. I remember being extremely nervous and feeling very very insecure that day; I was afraid of people staring and the side snickering and whispers of people passing by. From what I can remember of that day, I think it went well because now, I am no longer afraid or feel as insecure as I did back then of walking around in public with my prosthesis exposed.
This is the romper dress, but not in the context of the art fair, hence the tights I am wearing underneath the dress.
Fast forward to today, it took me from then until my second year of college to finally be comfortable with myself and my prosthesis. After moving to Los Angeles for college, I realized that it was way too hot to be wearing skinny jeans during the summer, so I decided to implement this new thought into my head: “ **** it. It’s really hot outside and I want to look and feel pretty wearing all these cute dresses, skirts, and shorts that I always see others wear. I am going to wear what I want and feel nice and be okay with it too.” And behold! I hate wearing long pants now (except during the winter; that’s a must) and I loveee dressing up (and down) in skirts and dresses.
I still get occasional glances and stares now and then, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I am more than happy and comfortable with my prosthesis in terms of walking around with it “exposed” and talking to anyone who is curious and wants to know more about it. I just wish I had a cool story to tell; my cousin used to tell me how I should tell people I got bit by a shark or alligator and survived that with the loss of a limb, but I can’t lie about something like that. I guess my story is cool enough as it is, “Hi, my name is Diana and I have one and half legs.”
A quick background story of how I know Phuong: I used to work in the same office as Phuong and occasionally dog sit Henney. Over time Phuong became like an older brother to me, and as the oldest sibling in my family (I only have a younger brother), I have always wanted a cool, embarrassingly protective and funny older brother figure in my life. After last weekend, I asked Phuong why he decided to do this for me. He said the idea occurred to him when I sent him a Snapchat of me at the doctor’s office, getting fitted for a new prosthesis. I had sent him some messages explaining how it was a dream of mine to one day be able to wear heels, but it was very unlikely I would be able to do so, because my insurance would not cover the cost of the adjustable heel. It was then that he decided that he could use RaceFreely as a platform to help make my dream become a reality. Unbeknownst to me, he organized a track day and gofundme in order to gather money to fund the new prosthesis. I was taken completely by surprise when he told me on Instagram live and handed me the money; if you happened to catch that livestream you could tell I had no idea what Phuong was doing holding his phone up and recording, or even how to help him turn off the Instagram live afterwards…
I honestly had such an amazing time that day. It was my first time coming out to one of RaceFreely’s track days and although I shamefully do not remember a lot about the different types of cars and their mechanical parts and bits, I had such an awesome time learning all about it with everyone at the event. I also got the chance to see what it was like to be a passenger around the track, so thank you to Alex, Arthur, Manny, Bernard, and James! Y’all made it an epic and memorable experience; by the end of the day my head was spinning, but I was still ready to keep going!! I definitely want to give it a try and learn to drive around the track too, but first I need to learn how to drive well, in general… Who knows, maybe by the next track day, I’ll be ready too! (If anyone is free in the L.A. area and would like to teach me, I would love to be taken under your wing and learn! :D)
Thank you so much to Phuong and RaceFreely for organizing this unforgettable day. I am extremely grateful to have met so many incredible people!
I want to reiterate how grateful and appreciative I am. Thank you to everyone who showed up to RaceFreely’s track event and Slide Factory’s Night Drift Matsuri, as well as to those of you who couldn’t make it to the event, but still helped to donate and spread the word. I cannot thank everyone enough for all that you have helped me with. I am still waiting to get the new foot fitted on my prosthesis (my doctor is currently on vacation), but once he gets back, I have an appointment on July 13 to get everything done! I will be sure to keep everyone updated and post again on how cool my new prosthesis is. 🙂
I tried my best in trying to make sure that I was able to talk to everyone, but if I happened to miss a chance at chatting with some of you and you just so happen to be reading this, please feel free to contact me!
My email is [email protected] if you prefer email or my Instagram is @dianax3dh; I check those two applications the most.
(If you have any photos of the event and would like to share, please email them to me at the email above!)