In an incredible story of overcoming the odds, a high school student (now in college) had both legs amputated after a bad accident. Most of the reports coming from doctors were so negative, you would think he had lost his life. But this young man sought a positive attitude—so positive, in fact, that a psychologist was brought in to evaluate him. That positivism, though, has raised over $530,000 from a rubber wristband slogan that says “Press On, JT.”
““Mentally and emotionally, I was pretty good right after my accident because I had a lot of family and support there,” he recalls. “I had this awareness that, if I worked hard, I could be back to where I was before the accident. So I never felt that I was going to be limited.”
Yet, during his weeks at the hospital, Thomas met other amputees who didn’t have the same support and access to care—those who could never afford high-quality prosthetics like his, which cost upward of $24,000. He learned that children especially have a tough lot because they often outgrow their prosthetics and need to buy new ones more frequently than adults.
“There were so many kids who didn’t have access to the health care that I did, didn’t have the family support and the friends support,” Thomas says. “I learned the incredible need out there for support in all kinds of ways. That was an eye-opening experience for me, just seeing the kids who were so much worse off than me, because I’d never been confronted with that before.”
Thomas didn’t look away from that harsh reality. Instead, he and his parents (both doctors from Chattanooga, Tenn.) shared his experiences, a core group began to grow, and the Jordan Thomas Foundation was formed while its namesake was still in the hospital.
The dollars came rolling in, through fundraisers like golf classics and low-country boils popular in the Charleston, S.C., area, where he attends college. Funds came as well as through the sales of rubber bracelets imprinted with “Press on J.T.”—an inspiring phrase that came from Larry Coker, head football coach at the University of Miami, who visited Thomas in the hospital. At press time, the Jordan Thomas Foundation had raised around $530,000” (http://www.successmagazine.com/your-personal-best-amputee-jordan-thomas-presses-on/PARAMS/article/1178/channel/22).
What an inspiring story for all of us!