One year ago on September 13, my friend and student Jaz was in an accident. Unfortunately due to the injuries this young man sustained, his left leg was amputated above his knee. Recovery has not been easy for Jaz or his family- he is 13 years old and is growing like all of our little guys do at that age- like a weed of course. As anyone that has ever lived through prosthetic fittings, it can be very challenging in the first year for an adult, let alone a growing teenager, to find a leg and a fit that may never be described as comfortable, but one that doesn’t inhibit movement, instead it enhances mobility. Jaz will need some additional surgeries and more tweaks to his walking prosthetic leg and is very excited to receive his running prosthetic very soon- thanks Challenged Athletes Foundation! Jaz has been very patient throughout the process, although there are days when he is down emotionally and in pain. But, he’s a student and a brother and a friend and an athlete and he knows that he needs to keep pushing forward. There are some days when this is very challenging.
I have been very blessed to have played a tiny little part in Jaz’s recovery. Prior to Jaz being fitted for a prosthetic, we started doing Pilates every week, on his living room floor. Now, if you’ve ever worked out with me, you know that it certainly isn’t a walk in the park. We started focusing on Jaz’s core, on his posture, on his overall torso strength and once he had his prosthetic, we were able to work on leg strength, flexibility and mobility and he has done an amazing job in every single workout. I know it wasn’t easy for him to start, nor have I gotten any easier on him. Jaz’s mom, Jess hung out with us at every workout and learned enough to be able to work her son out on their own. I’m hoping she keeps going down this path as she is a natural!
Jaz can do burpees, play basketball, in fact, his team won their tournament this summer! What an inspiration this young man is to others- young and old. There are days when I am just “calling it in” on my run- pausing way too much to check for emails or texts. And then I remember how darn lucky I am and how hard some of the folks I work with have worked, still work and will work to run. And, I try a lot harder. Jaz can dance and climb and run and jump and swim. We chat Pokemon hunting! He has come so far over the past year- and is still in the process of healing. I am so thrilled to have met this amazing family and I know that today, I certainly am not focusing on the accident that led to me meeting Jaz and Jess. I am grateful for the past year that this family has allowed me to come into their homes and their lives and hopefully with a little bit of movement training, give them a little more hope for the future. Jess is a personal friend that I enjoy chatting with and sharing the ups and downs of our lives. And, I will never forget the day that Jess told me Jaz would like me to be his godmother….we’re not sure how that works, but I’m not sure I have ever been so honored in my life.
It is so much more than just a workout. Endurance.