By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor
Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an ongoing series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes live among us and that their service is quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward – and ours, too.
Ten-year-old Adrian Grajeda wants to become a professional soccer player someday. And he wants to do it for love of the game — not to be a hero. Adrian can’t become a hero because he already is one. Six months ago the diminutive midfielder lost part of his leg when an inattentive driver crashed through a playground chain link fence and headed straight for one of Adrian’s schoolmates on the recess field. Without thinking, Adrian threw himself into a young girl standing directly in harm’s way and pushed her to safety but subjecting his right leg to a trauma that would require four surgeries and seven blood transfusions to regain just minimal use of the battered and mangled limb.
Three witnesses recounted Adrian’s deed but, in perhaps the cruelest aspect to this story, the young boy has no recollection of his heroism. Still Adrian remains an inspiration. “He’s inspiring and he’s helping other people with challenges,” his mother Brandy Grajeda said. As for Adrian, he’ s not asking for any special favors. “I hope I can get better with my legs, so I can shoot better and get better at running,” Adrian said, “if you just sit inside all day feeling bad for yourself, you won’t get anything done.”
Adrian has a prosthetic leg that is not designed for running only walking. His neighbors in Palm Desert, California are trying to raise enough money to buy a prosthetic leg that will allow Adrian to pursue his soccer dream. If you want to help,visit http://www.pdysl.com/ orhttp://adriangrajeda.webstarts.com/index.html.:
And lest you think Adrian has lost perspective on how lucky he is to be alive, just listen to this from a ten-year-old: “I mean I can’t really bend at the ankle, so I can’t shoot with my right foot but it’s cool because I can still walk,” Adrian said.
Somehow, I think we’ll being seeing Adrian at a World Cup match coming to a TV set near you. That kind of courage and persistence is hard to stop.
~Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor
Kudos to my law school classmate Tammy for the eagle-eyed edit.