Amazing Glenn Cunningham

A true story about athlete
Glenn Cunningham who was
horribly burned in a
schoolhouse fire at the age
of 8. Doctors predicted he
would never walk again.
Determined to walk, Glenn
would throw himself off his
wheelchair and pull his body
across the yard and along a
fence. Twenty-two months
later, he took his first steps
and through sheer
determination, learned to run
despite the pain…
The little country
schoolhouse was heated by
an old-fashioned, pot-bellied
coal stove. A little boy had
the job of coming to school
early each day to start the
fire and warm the room
before his teacher and his
classmates arrived.
One morning they arrived to
find the schoolhouse
engulfed in flames. They
dragged the unconscious
little boy out of the flaming
building more dead than
alive. He had major burns
over the lower half of his
body and was taken to a
nearby county hospital.
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From his bed the dreadfully
burned, semi-conscious little
boy faintly heard the doctor
talking to his mother. The
doctor told his mother that
her son would surely die –
which was for the best,
really – for the terrible fire
had devastated the lower
half of his body.
But the brave boy didn’t
want to die. He made up his
mind that he would survive.
Somehow, to the amazement
of the physician, he did
survive. When the mortal
danger was past, he again
heard the doctor and his
mother speaking quietly. The
mother was told that since
the fire had destroyed so
much flesh in the lower part
of his body, it would almost
be better if he had died,
since he was doomed to be a
lifetime cripple with no use at
all of his lower limbs.
Once more the brave boy
made up his mind. He would
not be a cripple. He would
walk. But unfortunately from
the waist down, he had no
motor ability. His thin legs
just dangled there, all but
lifeless.
Ultimately he was released
from the hospital. Every day
his mother would massage
his little legs, but there was
no feeling, no control,
nothing. Yet his
determination that he would
walk was as strong as ever.
When he wasn’t in bed, he
was confined to a wheelchair.
One sunny day his mother
wheeled him out into the yard
to get some fresh air. This
day, instead of sitting there,
he threw himself from the
chair. He pulled himself
across the grass, dragging
his legs behind him.
He worked his way to the
white picket fence bordering
their lot. With great effort,
he raised himself up on the
fence. Then, stake by stake,
he began dragging himself
along the fence, resolved
that he would walk. He
started to do this every day
until he wore a smooth path
all around the yard beside
the fence. There was nothing
he wanted more than to
develop life in those legs.
Ultimately through his daily
massages, his iron
persistence and his resolute
determination, he did
develop the ability to stand
up, then to walk haltingly,
then to walk by himself – and
then – to run.
He began to walk to school,
then to run to school, to run
for the sheer joy of running.
Later in college he made the
track team.
Still later in Madison Square
Garden this young man who
was not expected to
survive, who would surely
never walk, who could never
hope to run – this
determined young man, Dr.
Glenn Cunningham, ran the
world’s fastest mile**!
Story Told By Burt Dubin,
Developer of Speaking
Success System.
**On June 16, 1934, Glenn
Cunningham ran the mile in
4:06.8 minutes, breaking the
world’s record. His effort
portrays that whatever you
want to create in your life is
yours for the making. As long
as you desire it enough and
allow your will to guide you,
you can have and be
whatever your heart
desires. The only one that
can put limits on our
personal will is ourselves.
Develop and encourage your
will to create and all the
forces of nature within and
without will help you bring
your desire to pass.

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