As a young boy, the age of six, Garrison Hayes’ life was changed forever.

On an otherwise ordinary day, Garrison’s mother discovered the young boy inexplicably hopping around the house on his right leg. Curious, she inspected his left leg. No signs of trauma. Nothing overtly wrong- except for a strange tenderness in his left knee.

Worried mother. Doctor’s visits. X-rays. Garrison could hardly keep up with the strange and scary circumstances he has been thrust into. And then the tests came back. Osteosarcoma… cancer. A tumor of the bones had manifested in his left knee.  A parent’s worst nightmare.

There were only three options available to Garrison to combat the tumor — and all of them involved amputation. One method stood above the rest: Van Ness Rotationplasty offered a new and unconventional amputation method that promised to give the boy as best a chance as possible of living a normal and healthy life.

It was a hard time for Garrison and his family. It was as though they were walking into a dark cave with no light source… deeper and deeper, completely blind to what lies ahead. But, as you’ll sometimes find with the human spirit, it’s these exact occasions when the spark reveals itself. When the night sky is the darkest, the star will take his opportunity to show the world that he is actually an epic ball of fire. And Garrison navigated his way through the dark cave of uncertainty, leading his family with courage and resolve. He was determined to not allow this newfound circumstance to impede on his dreams, to dictate the type of life he was to live. Garrison’s heroic attitude, coupled with strides in modern prosthetic technology, has led him down the path of a champion.

Bravely turning the thoughts in his head, pessemistic words like “incomplete” and “disadvantaged”, into titles like 2015 Male Field Athlete of the Year, sixteen-time US Paralympics Track & Field High School All-American, and Eagle Scout — Garrison has proven that repression has no room in his life. Besides being an exceptional high school student, he spends his days honing his skills in his passions like soccer, snow skiing, mountain biking, basketball, and his personal favorite, track and field. Advocating for his fellow youth who have experienced limb loss has been added to his already impressive resume since coming into contact with The Jordan Thomas Foundation.

Garrison is one of the many who have been positively influenced and guided by the growing mission of our foundation. He exemplifies the very essence of JTF – that limb loss is not the end of a story, but the beginning of a new dawn, and potentially bright chapter where stars burn bright and help light the way for others.

If you were touched by Garrison’s story and would like to donate to The Jordan Thomas Foundation, please, click here.