Extraordinary People: Rosemarie Siggins, Feb 26

extraordinary people: half body, whole life
Monday Feb 26 21.00–22.00

This absorbing documentary retells the remarkable story of Rosemarie Siggins –an American woman who suffers from a rare genetic disorder which has led to the loss of her legs and the shortening of her spine. Having first visited her in 2005, Five’s Extraordinary People strand now catches up with Rose as she copes with the birth of her second child and deals with some pressing family business.

Rose, from Pueblo, Colorado, is a car nut – she’s been into cars, trucks and all things automotive since the age of three. She also has only half a body – but she refused to let her disability stop her from rebuilding and racing a 1968 Mustang. Born with a a rare genetic condition that meant her legs were deformed and without sensation, Rose had her legs amputated as a young child. However, she refuses to let this get in the way of living her life, even giving birth to a heathy son eight years ago.

Rose is determined to live as a full and normal a life as possible. She uses her arms and hands to get around, travelling on a skateboard at times and driving a specially adapted car which she manoeuvres using hand controls. She is grateful to her parents for making the difficult decision to have her legs amputated, rather than putting her in a wheelchair. Rose also chose not to wear the prosthetic legs her school wanted her to use, a decision which was supported by her parents. Fiercely independent, she can’t imagine life in a wheelchair, and enjoys the freedom of being able to get around by herself.

In 1999 Rose married Dave, who she had met two years earlier. When Rose learned that she was pregnant, she received little support from the medical community since nobody with her genetic condition had ever given birth before. Dr Wolfson was the only doctor not to recommend an abortion, but he did warn Rose that her extraordinary and ground-breaking pregnancy was putting her life on the line. A caesarian was performed at the top of her uterus, a more dangerous method of delivery, and a healthy boy named Luke was born.

The joy of Luke’s birth was followed by tragedy when Rose’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rose’s mother had held the family together, and Rose felt that her support system had disappeared. She and Dave moved back to the family home to take care of her father, who has Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia; and her adult brother Jimmy, who has a mental age of eight and is prone to violent outbursts.

Rose, however, is a woman who won’t take no for an answer. Having already had a baby against medical advice, she went on to become pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. But soon after, she fell into a depression when she was confined to bed. Now Rose encounters fresh concerns over her mobility, with the aches and pains caused by the immense strain on her arms leading her doctor to take a series of X-rays. With these images, we can now see Rose’s incredible physiology from the inside for the first time.

Since her mother’s death, Rose has been getting used to being the centre of the family, and she now needs to take care of some pressing emotional business. The cameras follow Rose as she takes her ailing father on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip to meet his long-lost brother and a branch of the family Rose has never met. And at home, she takes the first steps to rebuilding her relationship with her own brother, Jimmy.

About the author

  • Les Martin

    I am best friends with John Siggins of Melrose MA. John is Clyde Siggins brother. He would like David to call him considering he is a blood uncle to David. I have tried locating addresses and phone numbers for Clyde, but to no avail. John is not looking for anything other than connecting up to lost family. He can be reached at 781-662-8746. Thank you in advance
    Les Martin

    P.S. If you don’t want to call him, please email me to let me know if if I have the right relatives.

  • Anonymous


    • J. Davis

      Shame on you. I hope you will not have a child who has different needs. That child will probably never know the true love of a parent. Shame shame shame on you! My son is engaged to a wonderful woman who was born with sacral agenesis and also had her legs amputated at a young age. That is amazingly not the only problem she has survived. She is 29 yrs old and has just had her 73rd major surgery. Can you imagine? figure that out—-she is also a recipient of a kidney transplant, has diabetes, and has a permanent colostomy and catheder.  You are not perfect but you should be ashamed of making comments like you did.  Everyone is worthy of having someones love. Again, shame on you.

  • Christiane

    Poor lady! When I saw Criss Angel do that show i thought he actually cut her in half. See I believe in him and what he does and I’m hoping to meet him some day, so I support what he does. I’m thinking. Why would she run off without her feet? But then someone posted a comment syaing read this bioigraphy and i did and I suddenly realised, “Wow it was a real lady and thats how she has to live.”
    So i was just thinking to myself I’d post, just because this lady has all of the sympathy of a ten year old, and because I love Criss Angel. And because people with disailities just get through to me, in this way that is so hard to explain. I know most of you wont care but, I am just sending my sympathy to this lady and hopes she enjoys what she can in life.

  • Jamie

    I am amazed of the drive that this woman has. She took on the responsibilities of her family after mother passed. I too took on the role of the caretaker with my family after my mother passed. I would love to meet Rose.

  • Priscilla

    This woman is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
    I wish i had the same spirit she has, the same kind of thinking, same love for life, same perseverance, etc! Not only me but if everybody looked to their daily problems like her, this would be a better world. I adimire her.
    God bless you Rose! And I wish all the best for you!

  • On Criss Angel, I saw Rosemarie Siggins (Wearing Pair of Legs) split apart. I heard people screaming about the half body woman.

  • rrah ryan

    My daughter is almost three years old and too suffers from the condition sacral agenesis, unlike rose’s parents i made the decision not to amputate my daughter’s legs and she can get around by crawling and with a walking frame, later on she may require a wheelchair for mobility purposes.. but i read alot about the risks of associated osteoperosis and osteo arthritis to people that get around on their hands and the risks as well as the anguish and pain associated with the amputation just seem too much!
    When i read rose’s story i thought she was truely amazing a real inspiration to all of us..

  • Yvette Drew

    Once again as so many of you have said what an Amazing Woman. Our daughter has Sacral Agenesis she is lucky to have legs that work tho she was 3 years old before she was diagnosed. We live in Tasmania, Australia & Aimee is the only one in Tasmania with this disorder it is listed under rare diseases, tho we do not refer to it as a disease as it is something that we live with every day & to me a disease is something terminal, which this condition is not. It takes a very special person to cope with all the problems which Rose has had to cope with herself not to mention the taking on of her father & brother. My mother (who has passed away) used to say God only gives us what he knows that we can handle, so he must have thought that Rose was a very strong person!! I always say what does not kill me only makes me stronger. So from this little Aussie good on ya Rose keep up that wonderful spirit which shines through to us whenever you are shown on our screens.

  • Gram

    March 16,2008
    My granddaughter will be 16 this May. She was born with CAUDAL REGRESSION SYNDROME W/ SACRALAGENISIS,as Rosemarie was. She also has alot of wisdom.She loves horses,drawing and what not.I call her my angel sent from God. The only difference between her and Rosemarie, I believe is the fact that when Ash was born she actually came out blue and the doctors never tried to suction her out. He told my daughter he was sorry but he didn’t think her baby was going to make it, and asked if she’d like to hold her. Naturally she wanted to, so he put Ash on my daughters’ chest, the baby reached up with her left hand and touched my daughters’ right cheek and she turned pink just like that. SHe was in the hospital for 1 1/2 months, then we brought her home. She walks on her hands, skates,bowls,rides,horses, and yes has a wheelchair due to ahving rotary cuff tendonitis. I would love for her to be able to meet Rosemarie sometime…..

  • Lauri Day

    I love Rosemarie Siggins – she is a truly exceptional woman and she most definitely is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. The big breasted blonde pinup babes have nothing on Rosemarie – they’re a dime a dozen while Rosemarie is truly unique and fabulous. You go girl!!

  • Lauri Day

    I love Rosemarie Siggins – she is a truly exceptional woman and she most definitely is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. The big breasted blonde pinup babes have nothing on Rosemarie – they’re a dime a dozen while Rosemarie is truly unique and fabulous. You go girl!!

  • Cindy 34

    My fiance is a youth pastor and we fell in love with Rose after watching her story. If anyone knows how to contact her or get a video of her story, he would love to show that to the kids in his youth group. Her stand on abortion is just the greatest I’ve seen. My email is clwood34@yahoo.com. My son has Down’s Syndrome and I think she is a great inspiration to all people even though she has no mental disability, it inspires me with my son. Thank You Rose for being the person you are.

  • RoseMarie is such an inspiration to so many people, me included!
    My son has just been diagnosed with Sacral Agenesis/Caudal regression syndrome at age 12! He can walk perfectly but has problems with his bowel and bladder since birth. I wish Rosemarie all the best for the future. She is an incredible woman!

  • Pueblo719

    I grew up in the Pueblo Cab Company in which Rosemarie’s brother Jimmy worked, my father Daniel Jennings was his employer and it has been so many years since any of us have talked to any of them and reading this and seeing Jimmy and Rose’s picture was amazing 🙂

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