Jonathan was born with spina bifida, a birth defect where the spine does not properly form during the early stages of development. Spina bifida can cause many neurological issues, including weakness and paralysis. Jonathan has weakness and paralysis in his legs and uses forearm crutches and a wheelchair to get around. Over the years, Jonathan has had around 30 procedures and surgeries to help manage symptoms directly related to his birth defect.
While this can be a set back for many, Jonathan has not let his disability ever hinder him. As a young boy, Jonathan started his athletic career playing wheelchair basketball during the winter season and wheelchair track and field during the summer. Jonathan quickly discovered his love for the track and set his sights on racing every summer, including a trip to the National Junior Disability Championships (NJDC). It was at NJDC that year that Jonathan met a young man who was a para powerlifter. He watched the competition and his passion for powerlifting began.
Jonathan started powerlifting in 7th grade during school off season. He enjoyed the sport and how it made him an equal to all of his peers. It wasn’t long before he realized how strong he was and how he could succeed in this sport. In 9th grade he joined the high school powerlifting team and in his sophomore year he set a national record at High School Nationals in the bench press. By the end of his junior year he had met the para powerlifting high performance manager for the national team and Team USA, both who saw great potential and a future in the sport for Jonathan.
As of Feb 17th Jon has qualified for the World Para Powerlifting Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan in the summer of 2019. This is the next step in Jon's journey of becoming the USA's premier para powerlifter! After the World Championships Jon looks to join Team USA and continue to reach toward his overall goal, the Paralympics in 2024.
Since Jonathan is beginning his para powerlifting journey with the national team, there is not funding available to help Jonathan's family with the travel expenses that will occur. All funds raised will help with travel expenses and any funds remaining at the end of the year will be used towards the purchase of a para powerlifting bench.