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Actually, I Can!

Jess P., 17, Utah, USA

When people meet me for the first time, they don’t realize that I can do a lot of things if I’m creative and put my mind to it.

“Actually, I can” is my personal motto. When people meet me for the first time, they don’t realize that I can do a lot of things if I’m creative and put my mind to it.

When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. I thought I would have to give up all the things I love to do—dance, softball, volleyball—but my medication allowed me to keep living my normal life. I stayed super active and kept doing what I loved. I even started playing the snare drum in marching band.

Young woman

Then in 10th grade, my arthritis flared up and I got really sick. I couldn’t hold up my snare drum anymore. And I had to quit dance because it was too difficult for me to participate.

I tried to stay positive, but I really missed my snare drum. Even though I wanted to give up, my family encouraged me to find hope. We figured out how to attach my snare drum to my wheelchair, and soon I was playing in the marching band again!

Lots of times when we’re faced with challenges, we automatically think we can’t do it. But the truth is that “actually, I can.”


Amazing youth just like Jess are facing challenges every day. But do they let those challenges keep them down? No way!

Michael does more with one arm than most do with two!

Shane persevered even when a running injury changed his running dreams.

Kuha’o is a piano prodigy—and he’s blind!

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