Paralympian Lex Gillette & His Mom Will Inspire You to Raise an Ambitious Kid

Paralympian Lex Gillette & His Mom Will Inspire You to Raise an Ambitious Kid

Lex’s mom didn't dwell in what he couldn't do – she helped him realize what he could do.

By Michele Zipp

We gain strength from the words of our mothers, and three-time US Paralympic medalist Lex Gillette has an incredible mom who gave him so much encouragement. Hearing Verdina Gillette-Simms speak of her son, his blindness, and his accomplishments is so inspiring.

Elexis "Lex" Gillette was 8 years old when his sight weakened. The family learned that he had a recurrent retina detachments, and after 10 surgeries, the realization that he may never see again began to sink in. But mom Verdina didn't dwell in what he couldn't do. Instead, she helped him realize what he could do.

It's hard to watch this new video -- Raising an Olympian: Lex Gillette, from a P&G series on Olympians and their moms -- without happy tears. Seeing a mother's love, that bond this mother and son have, and Lex's incredible accomplishments is truly amazing.

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Verdina wanted her son to know that all things are possible, and it doesn't matter what anyone else says. "You decide what you can do," she told him. Those are words we as parents should remember. We have to give our kids the courage to try things, even when and if they fail the first time. She believed in him, and in doing so, he believed in himself. It's a beautiful thing to see what we can accomplish when we have confidence in ourselves and we have those who support us cheering us on.

On the track, Lex's long jump earned him his first silver medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. He went on to earn silver in 2008's Summer Paralympics in Greece, and at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Lex currently holds the world record for para-athletes in the long jump. At the 2015 ParaPan American Games in Toronto, Lex won gold in the long jump. Now, he qualifies for this year's Paralympics in Rio, and we're excited to watch him go for gold there. His talent and ability are truly awe-inspiring.


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Lex has big dreams, and he's an inspiration beyond his sport. He plays piano, he sings, he has a bachelor's degree in recreation management from East Carolina University, and he also earned his master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Verdina says that she believes her son can fly -- we do, too. We believe it for Lex and for our own kids.

Image via P&G/YouTube

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