It's not a disability, it’s a different ability

Paralympian Cody Michael Jones is one of the newest athletes to join the Ready, Set, Gold! program and the Paralympian made his first visit to Bellingham Elementary to speak with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students about encouraging their Olympic-sized dreams.

After speaking with the students about his passions and hobbies, Cody told them that he has a disability called cerebral palsy and followed up by asking the 150 plus students if they knew anyone with a disability. Almost every hand raised in the auditorium. He then asked if they knew about the Paralympics and what it meant to be a Paralympian. The majority of students were familiar with the Paralympics, but they did not know much about what it entailed.

Cody explained to the students that the Paralympics are held just a few days after the Olympics. He also explained that the word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic”. Its meaning is that Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.

Growing up, Cody didn’t ignore that he had a disability. Instead, he found a way to follow his dreams, but those dreams changed over time. His first dream was to play baseball, so Cody committed to his goal and practiced catching and throwing with one hand and made his high school team.

It was his drive and achievements that helped him get involved with javelin, which is a discipline in Track and Field. A representative from the U.S. Paralympic Committee had read a story about Cody playing baseball and thought he could made an excellent javelin thrower. Still, learning to compete in the javelin took time and he told the students how there were ups and downs along the way. His path wasn’t easy but he grew from the experience and learned so much about himself along the way.

Cody told the students that he looks forward to challenging, inspiring, and encouraging them throughout his future Read, Set, Gold! visits. He’ll work with the 5th graders students and hopes to help them along their path to be champions in sport and in life!