Chills. I have chills.
“Members, I would like to introduce you to a new friend and hero of mine — her name is Gianna Jessen. She is visiting us today from Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an accomplished recording artist.
“She has cerebral palsy and was raised in foster homes before being adopted at the age of four.
“She was born prematurely and weighed only 2 pounds at birth. She remained in the hospital for almost three months. A doctor once said she had a great will to live and that she fought for her life. Eventually she was able to leave the hospital and be placed in foster care.
“Because of her cerebral palsy, her foster mother was told that it was doubtful that she would ever crawl or walk. She could not sit up independently. Through the prayers and dedication of her foster mother, she eventually learned to sit up, crawl, then stand. Shortly before her fourth birthday, she began to walk with leg braces and a walker.
“She continued in physical therapy and after a total of four surgeries, she was able to walk without assistance.
“She still falls sometimes, but she says she has learned how to fall gracefully after falling for 29 years.
“Two years ago, she walked into a local health club and said she wanted a private trainer. At the time her legs could not lift 30 pounds. Today she can leg press 200 pounds.
“She became so physically fit that she began running marathons to raise money and awareness for cerebral palsy. She just returned last week from England where she ran in the London Marathon. It took her more than eight-and-a-half hours to complete. They were taking down the course by the time she made it to the finish line. But she made it, nonetheless. With bloody feet and aching joints, she finished the race.
“Members would you help me recognize a modern-day hero — Gianna Jessen?”