Paralympian spreads hope in Freeport

FREEPORT — An East Islip Paralympian and motivational speaker encouraged seventh graders, including a double amputee, at J.W. Dodd Middle School on Wednesday to reach for the stars, no matter what obstacles they may face.

Rohan Murphy lost both of his legs at birth, but that didn’t stop him from reaching his goals. The former Penn State wrestler and international powerlifter travels across the country to educate young students in more than 40 states. He also shares his experiences with the young audiences.

“Life without legs has always been tough,” Murphy says. “It doesn’t get any easier just because there are so many things in life that I can’t do without legs. So I’m constantly trying to find out how to do different things in life.”

Murphy found a special friendship at the middle school in young Wesley Capellan. He is a seventh grader double-amputee, who lost both of his legs when he was a toddler. The two talked about life, sports, and even prosthetics, especially since Capellan will be getting his very own come January.

“The advice I took is never give up, and be good. When you think you’re bad at anything, don’t give up. Just keep on doing it,” Capella said,

Murphy also advised students to be inclusive, embrace others and their differences, and to outline their lives in pencil and not pen. In other words: don’t be afraid to fall, and get back up again.

“A lot of kids send me emails, messages on Facebook, telling me I inspire them and as a motivational speaker, that’s what it’s all about,” Murphy said.

His next stop will be at Nesaquake Middle School in St. James next Friday.