Gianna Jessen does not quit. Giving up is not an option to her. Gianna has what she refers to as the “gift” of Cerebral Palsy. She weighed a mere 2 lbs at birth and the doctors said she would never be able to hold up her head, sit up, crawl or walk. She began to walk by the age of three years old with the help of leg braces and a walker.
Gianna doesn’t believe that her Cerebral Palsy takes away her life, but, rather, enriches it. . . she walks with a slight limp today and runs marathons. On April 30, 2005 she completed her first 26.2 mile marathon after running just over 7 hours and was presented with the coveted blank blank award! On April 23, 2006 she completed the London Marathon as well. She is now determined to run marathons all over the place, because she was never supposed to even walk!
Gianna understands the plight of orphans, being one herself. She was placed into the foster care system early on in life, eventually being taken into the loving home of a woman named Penny. Penny has been a mother to 56 foster children in her life. Gianna was later adopted by Penny’s daughter, making Penny Gianna’s grandmother. According to Gianna, Penny saved her life.
Gianna is a Christian. Her life was given to her by the grace of God. She shouldn’t be walking, but more miraculous still; she should not even be alive. Gianna’s biological mother was 17 when she had a saline abortion in her third trimester. Many Americans don’t realize it is legal to have an abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. After being burned alive for approximately 18 hours in the womb from the saline solution, Gianna was delivered alive in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic. Her medical records state, “born during saline abortion”…this is what caused her Cerebral Palsy.
Gianna’s travels and experiences have led her all over the world. Her life has been covered by many major news media outlets, including, most recently, the BBC News and World Radio, Sky News, and The Good Morning Show in England, reaching many people with a message of hope and conviction. In November 2005, Gianna spoke in several colleges all over Ireland and in December of the same year, spoke at a meeting held at the House of Commons in London. She has returned to England this year to speak in several parochial and public high schools.
Gianna’s audiences include: churches – church youth crusades and women’s ministry retreats; various corporations as a motivational speaker; secular and Christian youth organizations and schools – middle school age through college, as well as several times before Congress – most recently having her testimony read before the Supreme Court in Carhart v. Gonzales.
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