INSPIRING STORY OF THE WEEK
NO SUCH WORD AS CAN’T
by Lois W. Stern
Hold on to your seats folks, and get ready for this most amazing, inspiring story.
I learned about Jen Bricker and her inspiring story nearly five years ago. We had several long distance phone conversations – she in LA and me in NY – to get her story just right. She gave me permission to publish her story in the first Tales2Inspire book, but asked that I not do further promotion until her own book hit the stands. I have honored her request. Now that Everything Is Possible: Finding the Faith and Courage to Follow Your Dreams is a reality, I feel both honored and thrilled to introduce you to Jen and her once in a lifetime inspiring story!
In 1987, Gerald and Sharon Bricker adopted their baby daughter Jennifer. Although they already had three biological sons, Sharon yearned for a daughter, a little girl she could dress in pink ruffles with trailing ribbons and bows. They adopted Jen, sight unseen, when she was three months old. She was a tiny baby, only thirteen and one half inches long, but to Gerald and Sharon she was perfect.
Jen as a baby
Luck shone down on this infant from the moment she entered the Bricker household. She felt the unconditional love of her parents and three older brothers, all with solid values that helped her grow into the remarkable person she is today. As a young woman reflecting back on her childhood, Jen says with admiration: They are amazing and they don’t even realize it, they are just good people. I don’t know how, but they always managed to handle each situation exactly the right way.
Jen with her parents, Mr. an Mrs. Bricker and friend Dave
The Brickers told Jen that there was no such word as “can’t” from as far back as she can remember. They taught her instead how to go after the things she really wanted, and with their guidance, Jen’s indomitable spirit and confidence soared. She vigorously dove into sports, meeting each challenge head on with confidence and the expectation of success. She realized her dreams more often than not. Jen led a happy, rewarding life, playing softball, basketball and volleyball, but her passion was gymnastics. She won fourth place in the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympics in Hampton, Va. when she was ten years old. She also won the Illinois state power tumbling champion in her division.
Today Jen is recognized as a world class aerialist, acrobat, and motivational speaker. But what makes her story all the more amazing is that Jen was born without legs. And there is so much more to this unbelievably inspiring story.
Jen grew up idolizing popular gymnast Dominique Moceanu. It wasn’t just that the two girls shared a common Romanian heritage. They shared the same good looks: dark hair, sparkling eyes. ready smiles. Jen felt a magnetic attraction to Dominique, becoming her biggest fan. At age fifteen years, Dominique was the youngest member of the “Magnificent Seven”, the U.S. gymnastics team that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The Brickers were all watching TV as Dominique stood in line to receive her gold. When they heard the name Moceanu, it rang a distant bell. The Brickers quietly reopened the adoption papers they had signed nine years earlier to discover that Dominique wasn’t just Jen’s idol — she was also her biological sister.
This story is published in
Tales2Inspire ~ The Emerald Collection
a collection of Beyond Coincidence Stories