Heroes We Love: Shaquem and Jennifer

The origin of the word 'courage':

Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’

As we search for courage, sometimes we have to look deep into ourselves to find what we need to do the hard things, but not always. We hear seemingly unbelievable stories of a mother who lifts a car because their child is beneath it. Or, a firefighter who rushes into the burning building to save the occupants. A person who is wrestling with physical challenges can feel like they’re on a different level--as they undoubtedly are, but the heart they need to find their way, the courage, is the same.

We can look to others who have met challenges and conquered them as the basis for our inspiration. Sometimes, we don’t have to look very far to find it, but it’s in unexpected places.


The story his mother tells is of four-year-old Shaquem Griffin running toward her out of the daycare while clutching a football in one arm, the one with the bloody stump, and his classmates running behind him. He had just had surgery to amputate his hand the day before and was back to playing football the next day.  He still plays football. In fact, his list of accomplishments is so extensive that he is planning a career in football. Earlier this week, he was invited to this year's NFL Combine. You can read more about that here

Let's talk for a moment about  Jennifer Jeremie Marquis. Jennifer has no fingers, but she’s not an amputee; she was born with bilateral congenital hand defect. She enjoys painting, cross-stitch, and other crafts. But, the one thing she couldn’t do and really wanted to, was to learn to knit. She hopes that she can encourage somebody else, especially someone who suffers from a handicap, to be that push again, by saying, “Keep trying! Maybe it hasn’t worked out for you so far, but really--keep trying. Pick it up again. If you can’t do it, that’s fine, too, but don’t give up yet!”

“I definitely had my moments where, you know, you get depressed, and it gets to be too much. And you have your little pity party, for just a little bit. You realize there’s nothing you can do but make the best of it. So you pick yourself back up, and you push all the boundaries you thought were there. *she laughs* And see what else you can do!”

You can purchase one   here .

You can purchase one  here.

She has a t-shirt which reads, “Ten Fingers are Overrated.” Indeed.

When a person who is currently in rehab or physical therapy becomes discouraged by a lack of results, we hope examples of courage can help them to pick ourselves up and push all the boundaries as Jennifer mentioned. 

One of the things that never fails to inspire us is the results of people’s efforts when they refuse to give up. Maybe the goal isn’t to be in the NFL or learn to knit without fingers. But, whatever the challenge, we hope our readers take heart from others who have also had struggles, and it will help them to find their courage.

If you are looking for occupational or physical therapy, vestibular rehab, wheelchair training, learning to walk, unweighting, or other services in the Phoenix area, please call Touchstone Rehabilitation at 602-277-1073.

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