SOME of you must have heard the astonishing story of the man born without limbs who plays golf, surfs and swims.
Melbourne-born Nick Vujicic, 26, who is mainly torso, even tied the knot recently. How's that for an inspirational story?
I read in the Daily Mail newspaper how Vujicic, son of Serbian immigrants, was born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of both arms and legs.
He has a small foot on his left hip. This, he says, enables him balance and to kick out. He uses his one foot to type, write with a pen and pick up things between his toes.
It is reported that despite suffering from depression as a child, as he got older he eventually began to embrace his disability.
The man is full of life and humour. He calls his small foot "chicken drumstick".
So how does he stay afloat in the water? "When I get in the water I float because 80 per cent of my body is lungs and my drumstick acts as a propeller," Vujicic told the Daily Mail.
Water sports is not all. Vujicic plays golf with the club tucked under his chin and was photographed taking pictures of his able-bodied wife on holiday with the camera in a similar position. He brushes his teeth with a wall mounted brush and washes his hair with pump action soap. He skateboards and loves English Premier League football.
He learnt to type with his toes aged six with help from his dad, who was a computer programmer and accountant. Vujicic attended mainstream school, despite being teased and bullied, and went on to achieve a degree in financial planning and real estate. He has an electric wheelchair for mobility and travels the world, having visited over 20 countries, as a motivational speaker.
Having unsuccessfully tried to take his life aged ten when "purpose and strength" was hard to hold on to, Vujicic, 26, with help from religion, friends and family, is now like the Daily Mail put it "an international symbol of triumph over adversity".
He has touched the hearts and changed the lives of many around the globe. Vujicic, like our very own Iliesa Delana, gives life its true meaning. Life, come what may, was meant to be lived.
Amputee Delana's gold medal winning high jump at the Paralympics has made us all proud given he is the first Fijian to win any medal at the event or the Olympics and the first Pacific Island athlete to win gold at the Paralympics.
His jump of 1.74 metres in the F42 category broke the regional record. Absolutely incredible. An amazing feat accomplished by an amazing individual who continues to live life to the fullest after losing his leg in a bus accident at a tender age of three. It wasn't easy for Delana though and a lot of credit should go to Digicel for helping shape our champion's life.
He loved competing but was struggling financially. That's when the cellphone giants stepped in. They took him on board as a brand ambassador and then gave him employment. That was the timely, much-needed lift Delana needed to reach new heights.
He went on to bag a silver medal at the World Championship in New Zealand and then came the all-conquering leap in London.
Delana's triumph has put us on the world map in an international meet. The reigning Fiji Sportsman of the Year is not only Digicel's brand ambassador but a brand ambassador for all those who often feel or fall prey to loneliness, rejection or hopelessness in what, at times, can be a very crude society that we live in. Often we see able-bodied people whinging and whining about worldly things yet it takes those like Delana and Vujicic to make us realise how fortunate we are.
If those with disabilities like Delana and Vujicic can live and love life to the fullest, why can't we? Delana's historic triumph is truly immense. The gold that he has won and his name will forever sparkle in the hearts and minds of all Fijians. He is worth his weight in gold. Like Vujicic, Macuata's Delana is truly an inspiration to us all, especially our sportsmen and women.
Over to you, able-bodied athletes! I have often read this quote: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away". This was one such moment. The picture of Delana on crutches with the Fiji flag fluttering in his arms is one to savour for life. Boxing legend Muhammed Ali once said: It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself".
Vinaka vakalevu Delana for believing in yourself and Digicel for believing in him. Together you delivered the killer blow, one that we are all so proud of. Times Sport salutes a national hero.