I have met a most inspiring person through my future son-in-law. She's his sister, and she has a great story to tell. After reading her story, you will understand why footprints are such an important part of her message! Although she has physical limitations, she is a model, motivational speaker as well as a role-model to girls!
Questions to an inspiring woman
Overcoming obstacles against all odds
Melanie Jacobs, please tell us about your life and the journey you have been on?At the tender age of fifteen, a doctor gave me the wrong medication and I literally went from a very healthily, independent Royal Academy of ballet dancer, cheerleader and athlete to a girl in a wheelchair. I was completely dependent on my mother to turn me around in bed, feed me, bathe me and dress me. The doctors had no idea what the cause of this sudden onset illness was and they send the news that I would not see my 16th birthday. But as I mentioned, I have always had an independent personality, this also means stubborn! So I chose to fight to live and see my 16th birthday just to prove the doctors wrong. Both my feet and my left hand turned in at a degree angle. I was completely confined to a wheelchair for six years, but spend eight years with my wheelchair as a trusted companion. Up to date I've undergone 30 operations, and torturous but amazing medical procedures to straighten my feet and my left hand out. The doctors said I would die before sixteen, then they said that I would never walk again. After I taught myself how to walk a few steps at a time the specialists said that i would have to amputate my legs to walk on prosthesis. This was never an option. And here I am today. Completely independent, walking, and married - no wheelchair in sight!
Tell us why you are able to stay as positive as you are?
Its all about choices! I can choose to sit in a corner and feel sorry for myself. I can choose to stay out of the public eye because lets face it, I'm never going to walk perfectly normal again or have a day without pain. But I Choose what I do with the things that Happens to me. I cannot choose WHAT happens, but i can choose to turn a tragedy into something good. If you focus on all the negative things in your life, that what you will become- negative. But I CHOOSE to focus on the positive things.
You have a very empowering statement with regards bullying. Can you share that with us?
I firmly believe that broken people break people, That does not make bullying ok in any sense, but 99% the child who is the bully, is acting out of their own pain. When they realize their worth and find a purpose to make a difference this will fill that void.
What is the message you usually give to young girls?
We are losing a whole generation of young women to social media. Fifteen years ago a picture in a magazine was enough to make me feel, ugly, unworthy and just not good enough. Today our girls wake up with a bombardment of images of what "pretty" or "acceptable" is through social media. We are teaching our girls that the physical part of our existence is the most important! That Likes & Followers determine your value as a woman. We need to teach our woman that being a woman is CHARACTER, not just a physical form. If we can teach young girls to find their worth, build character and become a whole person, these traits will automatically make you confident in your own skin and you will have self worth and a sense of belonging. Knowing that you are enough, just the way you are!
What are some of your future plans and goals?
I am currently working on my autobiography. My pain can be the bridge to another person's heart. I am a motivational speaker focusing greatly on women. My goal is to go to every school, foundation and company and share the amazing amount of knowledge I had the privilege of gaining through this process. I established a platform, "Footprints of faith" - because we all leave a footprint in the lives of the people we meet. I opened a YouTube channel where I speak abut the subjects that women and young girls struggle with. I don't feel that going to a school and motivating a group of young woman for a day is enough. I want to establish a communication platform where girls can send and ask questions about their daily struggles. We all share the same general difficulties, I want to give our South African girls a place where they can go, send question & scroll through video's and be motivated by the message. You are enough. Know this in your heart! Healed people will heal people.
It is still in the beginning phase but my dream is to make a difference in the heart and characters of our young and older woman.
You can see more of Melanie here:
She's a tiny powerhouse of inspiration!
She's a tiny powerhouse of inspiration!