Missing a limb doesn’t keep Landon down
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Some people may look at Landon Jolly (Versailles) as being disabled because he has a prosthetic device on one leg. That’s not the case at all. He has to do some things differently than his fifth grade classmates at South Ripley, but, he doesn’t look at himself as being disabled.
“I do the same things as all the other kids do,” he quipped in an interview with The Versailles Republican.
Landon attended NubAbility’s tenth annual All Sports Camp in Du Quoin, IL, this summer where the sky is the limit when it comes to sports. He golfed, played basketball, baseball, swam and participated in archery. He also lifted weights.
Along with his prosthetic leg, Landon has fused fingers on one hand that had him figuring out just how to hold the bow to achieve the best shot in archery.
The camp where “there were more people like me” according to Landon, was a wonderful experience. He saw children who had multiple challenges and said, “everybody had some deficiency.”
Kim Jolly, Landon’s mother, said, “NubAbility has been awesome for Landon, he has been able to connect with other kids that are not only like him physically, but also have the same obstacles to overcome. This organization has given him the opportunity to learn how to be competitive in the sports he loves and how to mentally handle the stress that a physical disability can create.”
When his latest prosthetic leg was made, Landon was able to participate in the design. He chose his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” to be on the upper portion of the leg, along with a basketball. Kim said when they saw that verse was also the verse that NubAbility uses, they “knew God had a hand in bringing our family to this organization.”
There were more than 150 kids with congenital or traumatic limb loss who attended the camp where they had 18 different sports in a span of four days. There were 70 limb-different coaches who volunteered at the camp offering instruction and inspiration that takes the children to the next level. The All Sports Camp was begun in 2012 and through 40 camps has served more than 1,500 kids from 49 states and 11 foreign countries.
Landon loves sports. He was born to play sports and has participated in South Ripley’s Dirt Road basketball for the past two years where he says some of the challenges are keeping up with defending and rushing. “Running is the most difficult,” he noted. He told how sometimes kids will say, “Go ahead, I’ll give you a head start,” and he shook his head. “I don’t do that.” He wants to play fair and square. “Sometimes his leg just gives out on him,” his brother, Alex, chimed in. The boys, just three years apart, are close, sometimes finishing the other’s sentences.
Landon, who is now 11, told how in second grade some kids were making fun of him. “It’s just because they didn’t understand,” he theorized. “My teacher, Mrs. (Tammy) Halcomb, took me around to the classes and I began to explain why I had this leg and things got better.”
The camp experience allowed Landon to try a myriad of sports, according to his father, Kyle. The camp does cost money and is a 501©3 charity and scholarships are available for children in need. “In the past ten years it has been amazing to see
NubAbility grow and have an impact on kids’ lives,” said NubAbility founder and executive director Sam Kuhnert. “We look forward to reaching even more children in the years to come.” The non-profit’s Finding 50 search, which provides scholarships to new campers, is currently underway. For more information visit nubability.org , call 618-357-134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are Landon’s future plans? Well, he says he will keep on enjoying a variety of activities at his church, Shelby Christian, and participating in every sport that he enjoys at school. He says he will probably pursue a career in engineering and telling his story to people. Little brother Alex joined in and said he wants to become a stunt actor!