In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “My Hero.”
More correctly, my heroine.
This person has been a role model to me since I first came across her during my years at college – many moons ago.
Her name was Jill Kinmont Boothe. She was a skier back in the 1950s, slated to become an Olympic champion until she had an accident that turned her into a quadriplegic. My college movie club showed her biopic ‘Window to the Sky’ [called ‘The Other Side of the Mountain’ in the USA] and I was very moved by it. So much so that I tracked down the written biography, which tends to be more accurate and less saccharin than the film version. I joined a Yahoo online fan club. I referred to her accident as a ‘kiss with history’ in one of my Quantum Leap fan fiction stories. [High Hopes] I even wrote to her through the fan club for permission to include her story. I didn’t get a personal reply, but another fan took my request to her directly, and she didn’t say no, so I dedicated the story to her. She only passed away a couple of years ago in 2012 – aged 75 – which is remarkable considering she was initially given a life expectancy of months.
But there is more to my interest than a fangirl sort of hero worship.
Jill overcame tragedy and went on to become a teacher, specifically to underprivileged Native American children. She was also a talented artist, something I could only ever aspire to be – I can’t draw a convincing stick man and I have full use of all my limbs!
Her story is inspirational, and all through my life whenever the going gets tough I remember how much she achieved and it humbles me.
I strongly recommend anyone who is caught up in self-pity to check out the two films of her life, or better yet the book, for a healthy dose of perspective.
Beyond that, I strongly recommend everyone to learn all they can about this remarkable woman.
These days, the word ‘hero’ is applied to too many people far too casually. It has been dreadfully devalued. A footballer is called a hero for scoring a goal. NO, I don’t think so. A hero is someone who does something extraordinary – not just ordinary people doing everyday jobs, even doing them well. Firemen are heroes, lifeboatmen are heroes, people risking their lives for others.
A hero is someone who shows courage in adversity or acts altruistically – Jill did both, so she will forever be my hero.