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Jeffrey Beausoleil

Jeffrey Beausoleil

Overcoming obstacles

Jeffrey Beausoleil

17-year-old Jeffrey has been a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada since he was 5 months old. Born without a right hand or right foot, he has faced many obstacles, but one of the toughest has been years of bullying. With the support of Shriners Hospitals for Children, Jeffrey now shares his story as a way of telling students that bullying can be overcome and that no one deserves to feel unsafe.

In grade school, kids laughed at him, calling him names like “alien” and “Captain Hook” because at the time he had a prosthetic hook on his arm. The name calling affected him deeply, but he was still able to make a few friends at school who stuck by him. His parents and teachers supported him as well, and the doctors and staff at the Canada Shriners Hospital provided him with the tools and confidence he needed to create a full life doing many of the things every other kid could do.

However, in seventh grade the bullying got worse. When getting off the bus from school, he was beaten up. He was surrounded by a group of boys who threw food and rocks at him. They even grabbed his prosthetic leg and threw it, leaving Jeffrey unable to flee. Luckily, a neighbor saw his prosthesis flying through the air and called the police. The bullies’ names were provided to the police – some were suspended from school and given instruction not to approach Jeffrey.

Jeffrey faced a more difficult time after the incident. He did not want to go to school and placed a lot of blame on himself. After seeking help from his support group and a psychologist, he realized that he did not have to change, but rather that others had to change their perception and attitude – they had to see Jeffrey for who he is and his abilities versus his disability.

With the help of staff from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada, Jeffrey now goes to schools and talks about overcoming all kinds of obstacles, including bullying. He advises kids to seek help from adults. Asking for help from a trusted adult is key to resolving the problem. Jeffrey is also not shy about consulting a psychologist to help him realize that he is fine just the way he is. “I’m not different,” he says, “just differently abled.”

For anyone in Canada who is interested in having Jeffrey and a Shriners Hospitals representative speak at their school about bullying, please inform us by email.

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