A Leg Up on Life

Jacob with John Taveres photo from Jacob’s Instagram @jacobcal1999

Sheridan College student Jacob Calvert is no stranger to battling adversity.

Jacob was born on May 19th, 1999. He is from Georgetown, Ontario. Jacob has a rare disability called Femoral-Facial Syndrome, which resulted with his leg being amputated when he was five years old.

 Jacob insists that growing up was normal.

“My childhood [and] adolescence were surprisingly normal. Obviously, there were a variety of surgeries and doctors’ appointments. I still played with “normal” kids and participated in many activities [like] every other child would have,” he wrote in an email interview.  

 Indeed, Jacob claims his disability has opened doors for him.

“There were many opportunities provided for me. I became a public speaker and ambassador for both The War Amps and the charity, Friends of We Care. Being involved with their two organizations [has] allowed me to travel the country and take part at a variety of events,” he wrote.  

For Jacob, living with a disability does have its ups and downs. He has good days and bad. But Jacob is clear: it does get better.

 “My disability never really hinders any aspects of my life. Yeah, walking extended distances can be a pain. But apart from that, there is very little I have to overcome. You can even argue it’s a little bit easier. I get better parking and free money from the government,” he wrote.

Jacob at the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea

Jacob loves being active. He goes to the gym weekly and plays sledge hockey for Team Ontario. He hopes one day he can to play for Team Canada’s sledge hockey team at the Olympics.

Jacob is thankful for his parent’s help.

“Being active is another thing that many people with a divisibility may struggle with. Luckily, for me, my parents decided that… playing a physical team sport would be good for me. So, at age nine, they signed me up for sledge hockey. And I’ve been playing ever since. It has allowed me to be in a decent physical fitness shape,” he wrote.  

In January 2019, Jacob decided to switch schools and make the jump to Sheridan College. Currently, he is in his third semester of Child and Youth Program. Jacob loves working with children. His disability is not a factor in his placement. It only becomes an issue when a student asks about it.

 “My disability plays almost zero part. The only way it has ever come up is when a child I am working with will maybe ask a question about why I walk funny. Apart from that, it [is] no hindrance [to] my job.”

 Jacob is an inspiration for students or people with disabilities. He hasn’t given up on his dreams.

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