Add some Jenkins inspiration to your fridge

Johnson City Press • Nov 18, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Most people reserve space on their refrigerators for family stuff — pictures of the kids, drawings and paintings from school art classes, soccer schedules, phone numbers and such.

We’d suggest adding a clipping from Thursday’s front page to your fridge collection.

Katie Jenkins may not be part of your family, but her determination could be. Senior Reporter Becky Campbell’s photo of Jenkins sprinting across Daniel Boone High School’s track is nothing short of inspirational.

Nine years ago, the former Boone and East Tennessee State University track athlete was in a car crash that injured both legs. Her right leg was so badly damaged that she spent years in agony before ultimately deciding to have the leg amputated below the knee last year.

What a tough choice that must have been. As Campbell reported, Jenkins listed the motivations that led to her decision, including the desire to be able to work all day and return home to play with her 5-year-old son, Jacob. She also envisioned rock climbing, dancing, skiing and of course running again.

And on Wednesday, she did.

Jenkins had been outfitted with a high-tech running blade that allowed her not only to increase her mobility but to do so with speed. For the first time in his life, Jacob was able to run alongside his mom.

“For a while mommy couldn’t run and now she can always do a race with her iron leg,” Jacob told Campbell. He gave his mom a rose and when asked how it felt to run with her, he said, “Great, and I love her.”

Campbell’s series of photos perfectly captured the joy in those moments, as well as the determined grit on Jenkins’ face as she lived out her dream.

It’s that grit that all of us should remember. When we don’t want to put on a tie, scrape the ice off the windshield, do our homework, persevere through a headache or simply roll out of bed on a chilly morning, we should remember Katie Jenkins.

Going back to her list of motivations, Jenkins had this to say:

“I want to live by example. It’s not about the outside but the joy of living life to the fullest.”

Her words sum it up for us. Let us know if you need a copy of Thursday’s paper.

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