Jami Marseilles is a Newport Beach elementary school teacher and mother of two, who is also battling stage four cancer. She’s also a double amputee, who just so happens to be a record-setting USA Paralympian. Her remarkable chronicle of redemption began on a fateful day in December 1987. Driving home from a ski trip in New Mexico, Jami, 19, and her friend Lisa found themselves on a deserted Arizona logging road in a blinding snowstorm. After sliding into a snowbank the women found themselves stranded and alone, huddling for warmth in their stalled, now buried Chevy Blazer while the storm raged on.
It was three days and three nights before the storm abated and they were finally able to emerge from the buried Blazer. They quickly discovered that the snow was too deep for them to seek help and with supplies limited to a cinnamon roll and a frozen six-pack of soda they retreated to the car to wait for a rescue party. But none had been sent. Unbeknownst to Jami, Lisa and their families the road had been closed by the regional authorities. It was another week before they were chanced upon by two recreational snowmobiles. Barely conscious and severely frost-bitten Jami and Lisa were rushed to the hospital. While she had barely escaped death Jami now had to face the horrendous implications of gangrene in her legs and both were amputated below the knee. Thus, began her remarkable journey of recovery.
With characteristic determination, Jami endured months of painful therapy, strengthening her upper body, relearning how to walk with her prosthetics. But in typical fashion learning to walk again was not enough. In 1996, after watching the Paralympics Games, Jami decided to become a professional Paralympics runner herself. Fitted with “Cheetah” legs, she took naturally to running and soon began to compete internationally. Not only is she the holder of numerous world records and multiple gold medals, but Jami is also currently the only “double below the knee amputee” woman in the world to have successfully completed a half marathon and full marathon.
Jami hopes to inspire those she meets to never give up hope and live each day to the fullest. She founded the Warriors With Hope foundation in 2001. Warriors With Hope provides education, peer support, financial aid, and guidance for amputees and Cancer Survivors in need of assistance to help them endure their individual battles.
An Evening with Jami Marseilles
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