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Jason Hemmaway knows about competition

jason hemmaway

Jason Hemmaway of Claresholm was guest speaker Wednesday at the opening ceremonies of the Southern Alberta Summer Games.

Jason Hemmaway knows a little something about competing.
Hemmaway was seriously injured at work in an accident that cost him his left leg.
“I almost lost my life,” Hemmaway said. “Instantly, without even knowing I was doing it, I chose to compete for my life. I wanted to live.”
Hemmaway was guest speaker Wednesday during the opening ceremonies at the 2015 Southern Alberta Summer Games in Claresholm.
Hemmaway told the audience the word that came to mind as he prepared his speech was “inspiration.”
“I am inspired by all of you,” Hemmaway told the athletes at the opening ceremonies at Amundsen Park. “To get here today you chose to train, compete and challenge yourselves. Those three words make up the main pillars that define our lives. The choices made and the skills learned to get here today will continue to influence you the rest of your lives.”
Athletes had to learn to stay positive, dig deep, push themselves and have faith.
They also had to learn to deal with failure, accept and adapt.
“You should be very proud of all the things you have accomplished,” Hemmaway said. “Life is full of choices and challenges. We will never know when we will have to use the knowledge and skills that we learn daily to guide us.”
Hemmaway spoke of his choice to heal, gain strength and eventually learn to walk again.
“It was the biggest challenge and choice of my life so far,” Hemmaway said. “I had to learn quick to accept failure because I fell a lot.”
Hemmaway said learning to walk again at age 40, using a prosthetic leg, was difficult. He fell — a lot.
Hemmaway studied other people walking.
“I trained harder, I adapted, I overcame obstacles and I became successful at learning how to walk,” Hemmaway said.
It was an appreciation of life that bound all of Hemmaway’s choices and drove him to be inspired and stay positive.
Hemmaway said it was his family, the strong community support and his life-long friends who inspired him during his journey.
“What else inspired me about life was the world around me,” Hemmaway said, explaining he had plenty of time to study life while in hospital and talking to other patients.
Everyone’s struggle is unique and hard, and those stories provided inspiration.
Hemmaway cited the example of a 90-year-old grandmother who was in physiotherapy with him, learning to walk on a new hip.
He also talked about a young mother who was fighting cancer so she could live and care for her children and husband.
“It was just as hard a challenge as what I had to go through,” Hemmaway said.
Hemmaway told participants in the games to realize that inspiration is all around them and urged them to find it while in Claresholm.
“Inspiration is at the core of all the things we do,” Hemmaway said. “Inspire each other, Challenge yourself. Choose to believe in yourself. Choose to stay positive. You can face your fears, and you can be victorious.”
Hemmaway closed by stressing that choices made, and skills learned, to get the participants to the Southern Alberta Summer Games will serve them well throughout their lives.
“You will never know when you might need those skills.”