“I will live a normal life”

Juan Mijares is a 21 year old Law student at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He was born on July 19, 1991 and up to this day doctors haven’t been able to pin point the moment in which he suffered a brain embolism that withered the entire right side of his body. His hand and leg muscles became stiff and he was told he would never be able to walk.

While growing up he spent 7-8 hours a day receiving therapies to improve the mobility of both his hand and leg with the hopes that he would walk, and beating all medical expectations he was able to do so. Later on, the doctors discovered that his femur was out of its socket, his ankle twisted, and his hip was crooked than he was told he would never be able to run without a splint.

At the young age of 10, Juan remembers thinking “I just want to live a normal life, I want to play soccer, I want to run” so his family sought medical advise and found one of the best doctors in the World who was willing to do a muscular construction on his hand but the surgery turned out to be ineffective.

In three occasions he received Botox injections in order for his muscles to soften up . The first time the shots proved to be effective for a period of 4 months but the following attempts failed to soften the muscles up.

As if this wasn’t enough, Juan suffered the divorce of his parents and at age 13 he weighed about 198 pounds. Turns out, he was compensating his parents divorce by eating. Once again, Juan’s strength brought him back and in 7 months he had lost 88 pounds. Since the loss of weight happened so quickly, his body was lacking certain nutrients and he had to get the growth hormone, along with testosterone shots for 5 years, making him feel constantly tired.

At age 19, Juan started defying his own body once more and started running simply out of anger that emerged from not being able to do the same things as the rest of the kids his age. He believed that by forcing his body to do these things maybe he would get better. At first, a 20 minute run would cause him to have 7-8 blisters, but six months after he began running, not only on his muscle-less leg but on blister-packed feet, the blisters started to disappear.

A year later he consulted with a doctor that told him that he could run but he could never run long distances. One day, while going out for a run with his family they asked him: “Juan, why don’t you run a marathon?”. This motivated Juan to start training and running 5 and 10 km races. In these short races, he experienced no pain but once he started running half marathons the pain was constant.

Sunday, October 7th, 2012, Juan, accompanied by his friend Jorge Sánchez, defied all possibilities and finished the Chicago marathon. It almost seems as though Juan does not dream, but he plans instead. Next on his list is to participate on the 2016 Paralympics in the 5,000, or 10,000 meters races.

Juan Mijares has promised himself to “live a normal life” and with every single one of his accomplishments he proves to all of us that nothing can stop you from doing what you want to do.

In Juan’s words: “This marathon was extremely important to me because when I crossed that finish line I overcame obstacles that I have lived with since I was a kid. I proved to everyone that had said that I was not going to be able to walk properly without the help of devices, that I could not only walk but I can run. I say this because everyone needs to know that NO ONE can limit you, you are responsible of overcoming your weaknesses and believing that you have no limits. When I finished the marathon I achieved things that nobody believed I could accomplish. I might not have a perfect body but I do have the mind and the heart to make my body perfect. This is only one step forward in my mission to keep accomplishing what people believed was not possible”.

Special thanks to Juan for sharing his story with us. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments from the team at Oddly Beautiful