Life changes in a fraction of second and sometimes it takes a turn that changes everything from your lifestyle, your thinking, your attitude towards life. There are number of people who have faced such challenges in life, but only a few find it possible to overcome those challenges and give life a second chance a new direction. Sometimes these challenges make you somebody from nobody and vice-versa. And one such such as the story of Jordan Thomas. He is a former McCallie golfer. He had his legs amputated after a boating accident when he was just a teenager. At the age of 16 he was involved in a boating accident off the Florida Keys that almost claimed his life.
After number of surgeries, he lost both legs below the knee. Despite all of this, he was ok. His attitude was just right and so was his will to live his dreams, including returning to the gold team he captained for his senior year of high school. Thomas now recalls, “The psychologist asked me what my expectations were after the accident, and I said I want to be back to where I was before. I want to be playing golf, and he said, ‘Well, I think those expectations may be too unrealistic. You may not hit the golf ball over 200 yards again’. ” But he turned that disapproval to inspiration and he started walking with prosthetics only after a month after accident. Also after few months he was back on the golf course.
Thomas visited other amputees while in hospital and he got inspired by the time he spent in the hospital. He recalls, “I just remember seeing so many kids who didn’t have parents, didn’t have health care, I just knew that the future was grim for them.”“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.”
In 2005, Jordan established the Jordan Thomas Foundation to provide quality prosthetics as well as on-going counseling and support for underprivileged amputee patients. Over the years, the Jordan Thomas foundation has grown rapidly and annually raises more than $100,000 during the golf tournament weekend arranged by the foundation. When he was asked about his mental and emotional state at the time of accident he said, “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.”
Thomas says new prosthetics provide more than mobility, “It provides (these kids) with the opportunity to live successful, happy, productive lives. It allows them to not be limited or defined by their disability. They can achieve whatever they want and maximize their potential.”
About his experience Thomas says, “You can overcome whatever obstacle you’re faced with, we all have the capacity of doing great things. It’s just a question of working hard and getting it done. And truly anything is achievable if you truly believe in it and work hard. You have to look within and say what’s reasonable and what’s not and just work hard to achieve. Of course, there are good days and bad days. There were days I was worried about playing golf well again and walking well again. I was just really determined and kept my head down and focused, and I didn’t let naysayers overwhelm me.”
A star-studded panel—including Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Turner—named Thomas a Top 10 CNN Hero for 2009, and he was featured in a live special on Thanksgiving Day with Anderson Cooper.