Rosen Tells Chatham-Kent to “Believe”

Paul Rosen – Photo by Dawn Paley

He broke his leg in 14 places as a teen, had his right leg amputated at 39 in Israel, and didn’t learn to read until he was 50. In that time, he also became a father and Paralympic gold medalist. That is the story of Paul Rosen, and it’s a story that he told to students and Chatham-Kent residents Tuesday, with the simple message to “believe.”

Rosen, who visited Chatham Tuesday, told his story of determination and overcoming adversity, involving losing his leg, winning a gold medal with Canada’s sledge hockey team and being named tournament MVP at the 2006 Torino Paralympics, to admitting he was illiterate, and then going back to defeat his biggest challenge, finishing school at age 50.

“The only thing I regretted in my 52 years was my reading and writing,” said Rosen who has been touring to different communities promoting literacy to schools and residents.

“When I had to read to my children, I had to make up the stories, until one day my daughter was old enough to know I was lying. Telling my daughter I couldn’t read was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.”

Rosen’s message through his leg amputation and struggles in school was simple; not to let anyone tell you, whether it be in athletics or academics, that you are incapable of achieving success.

“Any of you that are told you aren’t good enough and can’t achieve; you’re too fat, too slow, or not smart enough, believe that anything is possible,” Rosen said to the Chatham-Kent crowd.

“I beg you if you take one message away today, believe that every single one of you has a gold medal in you. You might not all win a gold medal, but you can all achieve greatness.”

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