It’s not often you see a quadruple amputee college student who can do whatever his classmates can do.
Franklin Mejias makes people notice. At St. Thomas University, classmates such as Isaac Joseph, a track star, can’t imagine the perseverance which is now ingrained in Franklin.
“To stop yourself is just a mental thing,” says Joseph, who is no stranger to the hard work needed to excel in athletics, “And to have that strong mental fortitude, that shows a lot of spirit in this person and it inspires me to have that same ability to be great just like him.”
“In my case I don’t have any hands and feet but I can do anything, I run marathons, I ride my bike, I even drive my own car and I live a normal life,” Mejias said.
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Franklin has been creating wrong first impressions for years. A bacterial infection forced doctors to amputate his hands and feet to save his life when he was eleven years old. We first profiled him in 2016, when he was astonishing his classmates at South Broward High School.
“I come to school with a smile, always,” Franklin said at the time.
He’s been busy since he graduated, competing in the Spartan Race, studying business in college, and he wrote a motivational book about his life.
“I see life like a roller coaster, sometimes you go up and sometimes you go down, it’s OK sometimes not to feel right but the thing is that you always have to get up and move and show that anything is possible in life,” Franklin said.
“This kid has the best attitude on campus, and it’s wonderful,” said David Armstrong, the president of St. Thomas University.
Here’s the thing about Franklin: Wherever he goes, people stare at him, he knows that, but he also makes a positive impact wherever he goes.
“Oh there is no doubt he is a living example for all our students, you know we all have tough days, we all have obstacles, especially during the pandemic, yet you see Franklin bounding across campus, carrying his books, doing all the things he’s gotta do, with a huge smile on his face, that completely changes your day,” Armstrong said.
Franklin sees his purpose as being a role model for people with disabilities, and a source of inspiration for everyone else.
“If I can do it, you guys can do it better than me,” he said.
As I wrote in 2016, Franklin has no hands, no feet, but he’s all heart. It still applies.