My name is Jessica Smith and I was born in Chula Vista, California in 1987. I was a premature baby and only weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces at birth. Due to my premature birth I developed Cerebral Palsy. My mom’s mom lived in Illinois and her dad lived in Illinois as well, which is where they met. My dad’s parents were from Nebraska and that is where they met. My mom and dad met in San Diego when my dad’s sister introduced them at a party. They both have lived in San Diego all their lives.
I have one sister, Jennifer, who is 7 years older. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician. She is now married to her wonderful husband Peekay and they blessed our lives even more as they recently became parents. My Nephew Phoenix Ferrell Kelso was born on August 11th 2008. My nephew is growing fast! His sister Kayla Marie was born June 30, 2010. They now live in Columbus, Ohio
After I was born my parents and the doctors noticed some physical delays. I started to walk at age three, and talked at age one. My walking didn’t develop due to my Cerebral Palsy and I have spent my life in a wheelchair.
Some of my favorite things to do when I was little was to watch Sesame Street. I liked watching my sister do her hair and makeup. I liked to play with dolls with my mom, dad, and sister.
I attended Greg Rogers Elementary School from Kindergarten through the sixth grade. My favorite teacher was Theresa Kelly. She took the time to take me to sixth grade camp and always showed me that she cared about me. Outside of school I played challenger little league softball for a number of years. After elementary school I went on to attend Hilltop Middle School.
In 1999, I was granted a wish from the Make A Wish Foundation to go to Disney World in Orlando Florida. My entire family went with me and we had a wonderful time.
During my middle school years we started to notice my hip was slowly coming out of its socket, which gave me severe pain. I was able to go on to Hilltop High school and attend half of my freshman year. After that the doctors decided to do a hip reconstruction and I was scheduled to be in a full body cast for eight weeks in which I had a home school teacher.
After the cast was taken off, the doctors noticed a severe curving of my spine and I was unable to sit in my wheelchair I remained in home schooling for the next two and a half years during which time I had surgery for scoliosis. They placed to steel rods on either side of my spine; they used screws to attach it to the pelvis and wire to weave it all together. After the doctors straightened out my spine with the surgery they noticed that my tailbone was sticking out of my skin. They then told me it would be wise to take it out but wanted to wait a little while until I rebuilt my immune system and had a chance to heal from the surgery. At a later date they removed my broken tailbone I have also had several more operations since my tailbone was removed.
I am currently able to sit up in my wheelchair and attended Hilltop High School to finish my senior year. I attended the graduation ceremony on June 17, 2005 and had a big party with my family and friends to celebrate.
I have taken on a new passion for Charity work. I have teamed up with my Angel Eve Selis who is a local singer here in San Diego and we have raised over Ten Thousand dollars for breast cancer research. 3 years ago we also started hosting a Benefit Concert to help raise funds for the Local Chapter of United Cerebral Palsy and The Kaiser Pediatric Unit Rainforest Renovation, They basically transformed the Pediatric Unit into the rainforest so that the children and fight their illnesses in a warm and happy place. We are also going to move the Rainforest Renovation into other hospitals so that all children can have a happy place to heal.
In the coming years I hope to persue my career as A Motivational Speaker, I just want to get the word out to everyone that you can do anything you want to do! I have spoken on Television, at Business Meetings, and at Schools. My Motto Is “If You Believe It, You Can Achieve It!” I really do stand by my motto. Who you think that someone in a wheelchair could walk across a stage using a walker probably yes, but how about someone doing that without hips? Or what about someone in a wheelchair flying a plane? Or getting a friendship Tattoo? Well I’ve done all those things and I’m not even closed to being finished, I want to learn to surf, jump out of a plane and much more! When I do Motivational Speaking I try to get across to people what even though I am in a wheelchair I try to take the “Dis” out of Disability. After all, If You Believe it, You Can Achieve It. Right?