Juan Jose practices regularly to improve his swimming.
Juan Jose is your typical 13-year-old. He lives with his mom and grandmother in Antioquia, Colombia. He attends school, loves hanging out with his friends and has dreams of becoming a famous Olympian.
But Juan Jose has a little secret.
He only has one kidney. It keeps him from playing contact sports, like football, basketball and soccer, with his friends.
Instead of letting this hold him back, he channels his energy and efforts into swimming.
“I love to swim now!” he said. “I like swimming because we get resistance and we work out with all the muscles. I feel that I am free, and I have discovered that I am a good and fast swimmer.”
Through his chosen sport, Juan Jose has overcome other medical problems.
“I have asthma but I do not give up when I have competitions and I continue until I finish. I always want to be the best despite my health limitations,” he answered when asked about any obstacles in his life.
Even though training is from 6 am to 8:30 am, Juan Jose still said, “I enjoy training because it has helped me to get my health problems under control.”
Though he is a shy boy, his grandmother remarked that he is “disciplined and a fighter for his dream [of reaching the Olympics] and does not care about his health limitations.” Like most grandmothers, she is incredibly proud of him and his accomplishments.
With his most memorable moment listed as signing up for a swimming league, Juan Jose has even bigger dreams for the future. He hopes to “have the chance to represent my town in other cities. Maybe someday I will have the chance to participate in the Olympic Games to represent my country.”
We here at Unbound will be rooting for you, Juan Jose!
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Juan Jose catches his breath between laps.
Juan Jose, with his grandmother, shows off his competition medals.