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Jessie

Jessie

Jessie

I have an intriguing story to tell about my life and all of its experiences. Some people cry and some people love hearing it over and over.

My story is most unique – I have a brachial plexus injury. I have no use of my right upper body. My arm is elevated at a 90 degree angle at all times and I have no feeling except for the phantom pain that is constant in my fingers. I was also found to be legally blind in my right eye five months after my injury.

This is only the small picture. I look at the statistics the doctors gave me after my injury and had I been half an inch closer to the air bag, I would have been paralyzed from the neck down. An inch closer would have left me dead.

I do not look at these disabilities sulking in pity; instead, I look at the inch from death and think that I am meant to be alive.

I have no reason to sulk. At the age of 9, when this happened, I was a kid who quickly grew up, but this did not stop me from doing everything else that every kid does. Playing soccer, basketball, tennis, joining Boy Scouts, trying to climb that jungle gym. All of these things only gave me ideas of new ways that I could better myself and compete with my friends. I had to work harder and push myself to do things that other people frequently take for granted. I took the common serve and added a twist to it so that I could still enjoy all of the same things that every other kid was enjoying. This gave me the reasoning to see myself as something other than handicapped, which is why I often do not take “no” as an answer.

Life constantly hurls unexpected obstacles in our direction, but if we spend our time anticipating and worrying about them, we will not be able to enjoy the opportunities presented.

Nine years later, life is still different from that of an average 17 year old. I am in and out of hospitals, always hearing of new, encouraging technologies that I can employ to help myself. My love for soccer has led to a passion for coaching, which I have done for four years now. I have lettered four years with my high school varsity soccer team, which won my school’s first conference title this year. I am still undecided about what I want to do with my life, but I do know that I would like to share my story of perseverance with people who are disheartened by their handicap.

These obstacles will affect me throughout my entire life. They are always in the back of my mind but I choose not to dwell on the thoughts. What I’ve found however, is that at the end of the day, I’m forced to look into the mirror and accept myself for who I am. I understand that I couldn’t have asked for a better life. My disability has given me a different view of life and opportunities, refusing to back down from challenges and face them with a smile.

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