Delco teen making name in high school track as double amputee: 'You gotta believe in yourself'

A Delaware County high school student isn’t letting anything hold him back from achieving his dreams and the teen is giving new meaning to word resilience. He’s making quite a name for himself as an athlete, especially in track.

"When I’m racing people in high-level meets, they always think I’m an inspiration," Springfield High School junior, Jack Cunningham stated. "I think part of that is because they didn’t think I’d be here."

That is because Cunningham was the lone survivor of a triple pregnancy. He was born premature, with a rare condition that left him missing the fibula bone in both legs. He had a double amputation when he was a year old.

His parents, Tim and Krista, said, "It was tough. We didn’t know what to expect with Jack. We didn’t know what quality of life he'd have. I just wanted Jack to be able to walk."

And, at 15 months, he was.

"He started walking in his prosthetics right around Christmastime that year and that was probably the best gift we ever received," Tim explained.

It wasn’t long after, Jack was running with his dad in the driveway.

"We always worried about the things he wouldn’t be able to do and what we found was every time we thought he wouldn’t be able to do something, he proved us wrong every single time," Tim commented.

Jack did it all. He played soccer, baseball. He biked and swam competitively. He explained, "I couldn’t say I can’t do this, I can’t do that. My parents wouldn’t allow it, so it wasn’t in my vocabulary when I was little. I think that helped me feel like I could do everything everyone else was doing."

It was in the third grade that his love of running took off. "The moment I got running blades, my whole life changed. My goal when I first got them was to be the fastest kid in third grade and next year the fastest kid in fourth grade and so on and so forth. Now it’s just an honor to be able to run in the Penn Relays."

And, he did compete in the Penn Relays, along with his Springfield High School track team.

Head Coach, Barry Foster, stated, "He’s not only pulling his weight right now. He’s one of the fastest kids on the team, right now. He’s shown me anything can be accomplished and you can do anything."

His parents couldn’t be prouder. Tim states, "He’s my hero." Krista adds, "He’s unstoppable."

Tim has his own advice for others, "You just gotta believe in yourself."

Jack is looking forward to competing at Springfield as a high school senior and he wants to run competitively in college for an able-bodied team. He hopes to make it to the Paralympics in Los Angeles in 2028, either in track or swimming. The sky is the limit.