Jack Cunningham is a normal kid. He does well in school. He loves playing sports and hanging out with friends and family. He also happens to be missing both of his legs... But he hasn't let his condition stop him from living life to the fullest.
Jack is the lone survivor of a triplet pregnancy. He lost one of his siblings in utero and his other brother, Liam, died of a heart defect 26 days after they were born. Of Liam, Jack says: "He's probably my guardian angel."
Because Jack, too, suffered complications from the pregnancy. He was born without fibula bones, so when he was just a year old, he underwent a bilateral amputation that removed both of his legs. Despite the physical and emotional challenges of his birth, Jack is a thriving 5th grader whose story is incredibly inspiring.
11-year-old Jack enchants his family, friends, and even strangers with his positivity and good-naturedness. Thanks to his vibrant and infectious personality, people have nothing but good things to say about Jack.
"Jack is always very nice... he always has your back... he has a really good conscience," are just some of the things you will hear his best friends and soccer teammates say about him.
"My brother is definitely an inspiration, he always keeps up, he's really funny, and he's fun to play games and sports with," says Jack's older sister, Katelin. Jack's love for sports started when he was old enough to start playing them with her—and his supportive parents swallowed their nervousness in order to support his ambitions.
"We wanted to get him involved in sports. The only concerns we had when we put him in sports was... maybe a leg flying off," jokes Jack's dad, Tim.
Their worries were valid, but they were quickly comforted by Jack's proficiency with his prosthetic legs. Not only is Jack an incredible friend and brother, he's a truly amazing athlete. Along with soccer, Jack loves swimming, cross country, and track. He holds national records for the Junior Paralympics in USA Track and Field for his classifications, and hopes to one day compete in the Paralympics.
Jack's can-do attitude has opened up so many possibilities for him, and he recognizes how much optimism has helped him accomplish his goals. When asked to give advice, Jack said: "I want them to know that no matter how far you go, you can always go farther."
That advice captures who Jack Cunningham is to-a-t: a winner, an optimist, and an inspiration to all of us.
This HooplaHa original video was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot by Paul Galan, and edited by Kellie Sieban. Special thanks to Rob Decina for introducing HooplaHa to Jack and his amazing story. For more inspiring stories, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.