Staley Upper Elementary School in Rome held 'Wonderfest' Saturday to mark the end of a school wide reading project. As part of the project, the school raised money for the JRob Foundation, a charity that echos the novel's theme. Our Alana LaFlore introduces us to a local boy who visited the school to share his story of pushing through his own physical limitations.
Racing, hockey, basketball, Jason Robinson loves being active. He's an eleven-year-old with big sports goals.
"I have many dreams," said Robinson, a fifth grade student. "I want to do a half marathon, a marathon, and be a paralympian."
Robinson has had to overcome a lot, he uses a wheelchair most of the time. Sometimes he uses crutches to get around.
"He was born with a form of spina bifida called spinal segmental dysgenesis," said Jason's mother, Erin Robinson. "Doctors said he would never walk and would possibly be paralyzed from the waist down. He can walk with crutches now."
He proved the doctors wrong and then some, when he finished the Boilermaker 15K race last year in an hour and 13 minutes.
Robinson lives in Westmoreland and his school and community raised money for the racing wheelchair that allowed him to compete. His family wanted to pay it forward, so they started the JRob Foundation.
"I like to see that there's other kids like me in the world," said Robinson. "I like to see them enrolled in sports. So I would like to see us provide more adaptive equipment."
The school chose to honor Jason Robinson because he exemplifies a message from the book, that greatness lies not in how strong you are but how you use your strength. And Jason Robinson uses his to empower others.
"Even if you're in a wheelchair or even if you have a disability then don't let anything stop you," said Robinson.
Robinson's parents watched him undergo 14 surgeries and countless procedures in his life, they say it's amazing to see how far their son has come.
"He really enjoys telling people about his journey and just trying to inspire them to reach all their goals," said Erin Robinson. "It's great to see him spread that message and it's great to see him be a role model for his peers."
Through faith, courage and empowerment, Jason Robinson wants everyone to know they can achieve their dreams.
Starting in September, children and their parents will be able to apply for grants through the JRob Foundation.
They'll be able to receive adaptive sports equipment like the wheelchair Jason used in the Boilermaker.