Weekend Feature- Jimmy’s Journey.

November 30, 2012 -
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Hi all! Don’t forget that you have until Monday night to enter the


This weekend I wanted to feature my friend Jimmy.

We’ve basically known each other since we were in diapers.

Our moms are best friends, therefore growing up I spent a decent amount of time playing hide-n-go-seek with Jimmy.
Or, as he may recall, me spending a lot of time in time out because I tried getting him into trouble!
What can I say? back then, boys had cooties! Winking smile

I have to say it is pretty awesome that we’ve continued our friendship into our 20’s!
We both work at a sports camp and this summer we were co-coaches together.

Jimmy has quite a journey, which you will read about below this.
Throughout it all, he has never lost site of where he one day will be.

His positive attitude is something that most people dealing with his condition wouldn’t be able to maintain.
Yes, he has dealt with a lot that most of us will never understand.
Some days can be tough for him, but every time I’ve been around him, he is never negative!

He is a true definition of the #BETRUETOYOU hashtag & I couldn’t wait to share his story!


So, let me introduce Jimmy Graner!


My name is Jim & I am a 23 y/o Junior at Slippery Rock University,
majoring in Journalism, minoring in Film and media arts.

I currently work for the YMCA as a youth Sports Coach and a summer coach with Kasey!
I also write movie reviews for the website Examiner.com.

I was born in Pittsburgh and will probably never leave, unless my job takes me some place.
I play indoor soccer, ultimate Frisbee.
I’m an avid runner, and also enjoy seeing movies as well as being active on my twitter account, @

I also volunteer in the community, mostly at my old elementary school when I’m not busy with work or school.
And lastly, I like having fun and hanging out with my friends and family who support me in everything I do.

Here is a my story:
Basically, when I was in 3rd grade, I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma,
a tumor that resided in my right jaw bone.
After nearly 9 months of radiation, chemotherapy and a few surgeries,
they removed the tumor as well as part of my jawbone in fourth grade.

From there on, I would continue to have multiple reconstructive surgeries to fix the damage that the cancer did to my face.

The hardest part about everything I’ve been through, was my childhood growing up.
Because of the chemo and radiation, my body was drained of physical strength and energy.

At the time, I was marvelous at playing soccer and baseball, and when this came along,
it knocked me from the top, the whole way back to the bottom.

However, I would continue to play at the best of my ability
no matter who or what would get in my way.

Another thing that bugged me was my close friends and other friends growing up and becoming more mature.
I’ve been stuck between 100-130 pounds since about 6th grade.
I can eat and eat and nothing seems to happen, its like a gift.

And the last thing that bugged me was girls and my appearance.

People around me were getting girlfriends while I laid back
and watched them go through with having someone close to them.

Up to this point, I’ve never been in any relationship;
that is one thing that I truly wish I could have out of everything in this world today.

But for me, its more about finding that true someone,
because I feel I could not break up with anyone due to the fact that I’m too nice of a guy.
But I do believe that someone is out there for me and I will do whatever it takes to find them.

Lastly, my appearance played a big role in my entire school experience.
I know my friends and family were being nice and telling me that I looked fine.

This kind of goes along with tips, but basically, negative things and remarks that are aimed towards me
hit me and bounce right back, cause they have zero effect on me.

If I could tell anyone anything about living and growing up with a problem like this,
it’s to ignore all the bullying and harassment one can receive from other people.

You accomplish that,
then you have nothing to worry about
for the rest of your life.

As far as more tips go, stay positive.
No matter what is thrown at you, people need to
stay positive.

And finally, the ONE thing that keeps me going everyday is the
love and support from family and friends.

If it wasn’t for people like Kasey Arena and my close personal friends,
I could never go through what I went through over the past 14 years of my life.

A simple “like” on Facebook, a “Favorite” on Twitter,
and any positive remarks and messages I get from anyone,
anywhere about anything, really makes me happy.

If I ever won the lottery, I would spread the winnings among all the people
who have ever done and said anything nice to me in my whole life.

Until that happens, the love and support I get from everyone will continue to
keep me moving and make me enjoy life so much more, I love and thank all of you.”

-Jimmy G



I just really want to thank Jimmy for being so honest & sharing his story!
Sometimes it’s not easy to put yourself out there.

I know that this community would accept him for everything he is & support him on his journey!

If you want to follow Jimmy on twitter – it’s @JIMDbGraner.

He is a great guy & I’m happy that we’re still friends after all of these years!

My thoughts & prayers are with him always!

Thank you Jimmy and way to BE TRUE TO YOU!


Speaking of being TRUE TO YOU
Monday is your last day to enter the challenge!

Tuesday I will be posting the winner!

I’ve received so many inspiring e-mails
and I can’t wait to share them all!

You are all awesome.