Judy Robles – a Latina Still Standing

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By Diana Bejarano

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 is not the difficult situations that determine our character, but rather it is 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. 

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  was determined not to not give her child up for adoption to her parents, who had offered to raise him as her brother. She told them, “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 125 pounds. 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; when he offered to quit school to get a job and help her and his siblings, his mom wouldn’t let him quit. She encouraged her son to keep living his dream. 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 in a divorce, she lost her home and she lost her health for a while – but she didn’t quit. Life hasn’t gotten any easier for this single mother of five, but she keeps moving 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.

Diana Bejarano’s professional background includes more than 15 years of marketing and communication experience. She was named “40 under 40” by the Phoenix Business Journal (2005) and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2007). She is also a Hispanic Leadership Institute graduate (2007). She is an Arizona native and a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach her at or

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