Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rudy Garcia - Motivation athlete

Posted by Dori Nottingham

I first learned about Rudy when I was in High School. From a young age he has overcome amazing obstacles. He grew up 20 miles from my home and I think of him when things get touch. Could I stay so positive if I were in the same situation? Following is a little about his life.
Rudy lives by a simple motto: A Brave Heart is a Powerful Weapon. He was born with rare, multiple birth defects – a combination of crippling Pterygium Syndrome, a clubfoot, webbed fingers on both hands, and a cleft lip and palate. His legs would not straighten from the knee and he was forced to crawl or push himself in a wheelchair. While other kids played outside, Rudy sat and suffered. He was an eager little boy trapped in an imperfect body.

At age five, after 15 operations, he told his parents he wanted to move on; he would rather be a double amputee than continue to put up with what his life had become. He had both legs removed above the knee … and he's never looked back.

The loss of his legs marked the beginning of his life. When Rudy was eight years old, he told the world he would swim in the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was true to his word and brought home the Gold in the 200 Meter IM, while shattering the world record for his class.

Rudy continues to swim as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Elite Team. He’s completed numerous triathlons individually, and won several prestigious awards, including the Arete Courage in Sports Award and the Casey Martin Award from Nike. Through his example, Rudy has helped CAF raise more than $6 million to ensure his challenged peers have the same opportunities he did.

Rudy is now a motivational speaker and truly is one of my heroes. He is happy, strives to meet his goals, and doesn't let the inconvenience of having no legs get him down. I used to keep his picture in my college apartment for inspiration and still think of him often. I love the thought that we can find our heroes just around the corner. Look for heroes in your life to inspire you.


Fern said...

Wow, if he can reach such amazing goals... why not us, too?!

hsjacobus said...

This is great. Thanks for sharing it Dori.