No Arms No Legs but ONE GIGANTIC HEART

Version 2A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting someone who is NOT running for President, someone who has NOT won massive accolades on the sports field, nor someone who has made a Billion dollars in business. (Well – actually I met Billionaire Tim Cook, CEO of Apple – the world’s most valuable company). But I also met someone someone much more important. His name is Gabe Adams.

Grit, Determination, Perseverance, Courage, and a Positive Mental Attitudes are all things we admire and cherish in others. These characteristics have reached their ultimate personification in Gabe. Heck – I wish he were running for President! He would have my vote!

To say Gabe is remarkable is an understatement. He is a straight A student at Dixie High school in St. George, Utah and was born with no arms or legs. He is an outstanding public speaker! He was born with Hanhart syndrome, a congenital defect that causes malformed arms and legs, and his biological mother didn’t think she’d be able to care for him.

God bless Janelle and Ron Adams who heard the story of this abandoned baby boy and set about to secure for Gabe a loving home and an opportunity to live a fuller life. The Adams, who have 13 biological children of their own, went to Brazil to retrieve him and bring him back to their then home in Northern Utah.

Gabe knows this was meant to be and that the Adams family is THE one God intended for him. He shared with the audience of roughly 200 executives gathered at Robert Redford’s Sundance resort the many mighty miracles that occurred which enabled his American parents to secure him from Brazil and bring him to a loving home in the United States. He is an absolute inspiration to all and sees no limitations as a result of his condition. According to Gabe, “I am not disabled – I am enabled.”

One example of Gabe’s passion for overcoming adversity is characterized by his fierce love of dance. How in the world can someone so physically afflicted be capable of engaging in such a demanding activity? Well Gabe figured it out.

He discovered his passion for dance in the 7th grade, when he choreographed a dance for his middle school talent show. After receiving a standing ovation for his performance, his passion for dance was permanently ignited.

So as a sophomore in high school, he learned of tryouts for his high school dance team. When he went to one of the first team meetings, he overheard someone whisper that “Gabe would make the team because he had a disability.” He immediately confronted his dance coach and made her promise that he would never be added to the dance team because of any perceived disability. Once that promise was secured, Gabe went forward and made the team on his own merits. Here is more on the story as carried in a recent article in Today.Com:

His dance teacher, Kim King, says Gabe has brought so much joy to the team and has pushed them all to work harder.

“When they see him, they don’t realize how hard it is to get dressed, how hard it is to get in and out of his chair, but Gabe does everything by himself,” King said.

Gabe’s father, Ron Adams, said Gabe is always pushing himself and taking each challenge in stride.

“I don’t think everyone understands what it takes, the muscle coordination and development to balance when he doesn’t have limbs,” Ron Adams said.

He may not realize it, but Gabe is constantly inspiring the people around him.

“He’s just like all the other kids,” King said. “His disability is only what we see. Gabe has none.”

When Gabe addressed the group at Sundance, the room was amazingly still. You could not hear any extraneous sounds. We were captivated by Gabe’s story. His speech was filled with a series of profound insights. Here are a free of the precious gems he shared:

* You cannot find your greatest gifts without going through your greatest challenges

* I am wise because I have been foolish.

* When you love, it changes hearts

* You don’t have to be perfect, but you need to give 100% of yourself all the time

* Only 1 thing matters- What you decide!

* Rock Bottom -became my Foundation!

* Step Up and give nothing but your best!

So whenever you want to feel sorry for yourself, whenever you are discouraged because you feel life is unfair to you, or whenever challenges appear in your life that seem insurmountable, just remember an armless, legless 18-year old young man in southern Utah who has overcome all of this and more. He has turned the lemons that were dealt him in life and replaced them with joyful lemonade.

As Gabe was wrapping up his riveting remarks, he delivered what I viewed as his most powerful message. After sharing his experiences in learning to dance, he quoted Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted . . .;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .”

He then added something to the following effect:

“My message to you today that when you are challenged by life’s insurmountable difficulties – “Decide to Dance.”

He continued: “I can’t dance like other people, but I can still dance. I can smile, I can laugh, I can be nice to others….and I can kiss my Mom.”

His challenge to us…regardless of what your challenge is in life:

DECIDE TO DANCE!”

Thank you Gabe! You are an inspiration to all!

By David BradfordVersion 3Version 2


Posted in Posted in Entrepreneurship, Lessons Learned, What I Learned From  |  1 Comments

“No Arms No Legs but ONE GIGANTIC HEART”

  1. Mr. David Bradford, Thank you for your inspiring article. I for one am grateful for the quotes you added. I, of course, was not able to attend your Sundance Meeting, but as Gabe’s grandmother, I am grateful for your summary report. Thank you for enjoying our wonderful grandson. My husband and I are very proud of him! We are also proud of his parents for not allowing him to think of himself as disabled. Gabe has developed some unique coping skills in order to dive, swim, dance, draw and write. In fact, Gabe has the best “handwriting” in the family. We love him dearly and we are grateful for the opportunities he has to inspire others.–D’Ann Jones

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