A Life of Dedication
We often wrongly think that age is a limiting factor and that our youth is the time when we shine brightest and make the greatest impact. However, that isn’t the case for Optimus patient Jerry Minor. In fact, Jerry’s life at the age of 71 is shining as brightly as the North Star, guiding us onwards through his example of perseverance, dedication, and will to overcome.
Jerry is no stranger to dedication. He was a dedicated pipe fitter who worked at AK Steel in Middletown, Ohio for 33 ½ years until his retirement. After retirement, he went to work at a funeral home where he worked for another 13 ½ years. And perhaps most admirable regarding his dedication is his marriage to his wife. They will be married 54 years in June (Can we get a standing ovation?)! Currently, Jerry volunteers as a Lay Minister. He has two daughters, three grandchildren, and one great granddaughter who he fondly admits is “the apple of my eye”.
Jerry’s story with limb loss really begins in 2013 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He says, “I had ½ of my lung removed. I thought I had beaten it.” However, in 2018 Jerry developed a pain in his right leg, “At the time I didn’t think anything about it. But the pain got worse, and I was soon diagnosed with bone cancer. The cancer was in my knee joint. I ended up having a right above the knee amputation at the James Cancer Center at OSU.”
Jerry describes the time immediately following his amputation as a period that was very difficult, “For 3-6 months I felt like my life had ended. I couldn’t do anything. And I really didn’t want to.” Yet Jerry’s perseverance and dedication to difficult things kicked in, and he decided, “to go ahead and have a prosthetic leg made, but I really didn’t think I would ever use it! But Optimus was great to me! I was fit with my first leg, and it turned my life around! I am now on my second leg. It has a microprocessor knee, which is really cool to show off! I do almost everything I did before. I attend church every Sunday. I have been the Head Usher for 10 years. In April, my wife and I will be going to Florida for a month!”
Jerry left us with some final words of encouragement, and we should all listen closely so that one day we can be someone’s North Star like Jerry, setting an example by overcoming difficult things, being dedicated to all areas of our lives, and working to make the most out of what we have been given. As Jerry put it, “Make sure you work hard to get back to your NEW NORMAL… remember you will need to work really hard!”