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Being Different Is OK: The Real Story Of 10-Year Old Ezra Frech

Being Different Is OK: The Real Story Of 10-Year Old Ezra Frech

Ezra Frech has endured more than the average person’s share of challenges ― and he is only 10 years old. He was born with disabilities that would cause most people to slow down and give up, and few people expected him to physically excel. Yet, far from deterred by his irregularities, Ezra continues to push himself, and today he boasts one of the most inspirational stories of the year.

Born With Congenital Differences

Though Ezra was born a healthy, happy baby boy, he did have some obvious anomalies that would make life difficult for him. Perhaps most obvious was baby Ezra’s left arm, which ended in a single finger rather than a full five-fingered hand. However, more detrimental to his development, Ezra’s left leg was excessively curved, and he was missing his left patella and fibula ― crucial bones that allow the leg to bend. Movement for baby Ezra was awkward and painful, and a single digit was not enough for him to grasp objects effectively. His parents and doctors imagined a better life ― but that life required Ezra to have dramatic surgeries.

Rebuilt by Modern Medicine

At the tender age of 2, Ezra went under the knife. The primary goal for Ezra’s surgeries was to create limbs that gave the boy more mobility and utility, especially as he aged.

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Initially, doctors amputated Ezra’s left leg below the hip, replacing the kneeless leg with a human-built alternative. By streamlining the non-functioning leg into a short stump, doctors created an appendage that would better fit modern prosthetics. Additionally, using the big toe from the discarded limb, doctors gave Ezra a second finger on his left hand, which allowed him strength and dexterity he previously lacked.

After a couple years of recovery, Ezra received his first prostheses at age 4. The Hanger Clinic gave Ezra two different legs: one with an articulated knee for everyday use and a running blade designed for high activity. For the first time in his life, Ezra was able to use two functional legs to walk with a normal gait, but more than that ― Ezra was able to run and jump.

Inspired by Physical Feats

Even before Ezra received his artificial limb, he was entranced by sports. Baby Ezra could spend hours rolling balls back and forth across the floor, and he learned to count early (albeit by twos) by watching professional basketball games. As soon as he could stand at 1 and a half years, Ezra practiced shooting basketballs; throughout his recovery, he would devote hours to running around the backyard, increasing his endurance, and perfecting his form. He simply couldn’t wait to begin playing sports, and when he donned his new leg, he finally got his wish.

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Empowered to Try Harder

Despite Ezra’s athletic zeal, his prosthetic leg didn’t immediately transform him into a sports prodigy. Ezra often tells the story of his first experience on the basketball court in kindergarten after obtaining his first leg: He missed every shot he took, and instead of completing his set like the other kids, Ezra ran away disheartened. Fortunately, Ezra’s coach pulled Ezra aside and told him to continue making shots and “finish well.” Ezra took that lesson to heart, and from then on, he always pushed himself to complete his physical endeavors, no matter how poorly he performed.

ezra

    Eventually, Ezra did master his leg ― and then some. He travels the country to compete in national competitions, like the Endeavor Games, the Desert Challenge Games, and the National Junior Disability Championships, and to date, Ezra holds nine national records for junior track and field events, including the long jump and the high jump. Plus, Ezra competes in district basketball, soccer, and football leagues, finishing his season as his team’s starting quarterback.

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    Heartening to Everyone

    Ezra’s achievements are testaments to the power of committing to one’s goals, something even tycoon business leaders could learn from. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what one’s obstacles are ― it only matters that one strives to overcome them.

    Ezra isn’t afraid to admit that he is challenged by his differences every day. Every single step puts unnatural strain on his body, and he sometimes does pray for a divine solution to his problems. However, Ezra says, “I have to think about what I have instead of what I don’t have.” Ezra appreciates his body for what it allows him to do, and he wants people to know that it is OK to be different ― sometimes, it even allows you to be more amazing than you thought possible.

    Image of Ezra running by Jason Gould from Angel City Sports

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    Featured photo credit: LifeHack via media.lifehack.org

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    Last Updated on January 18, 2019

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

    But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

    1. Limit the time you spend with them.

    First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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    In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

    Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

    2. Speak up for yourself.

    Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

    3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

    This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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    But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

    4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

    Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

    This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

    Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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    5. Change the subject.

    When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

    Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

    6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

    Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

    I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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    You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

    Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

    7. Leave them behind.

    Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

    If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

    That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

    You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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