One day I was taking pictures of Tristan and his friends playing basketball. Later, I started editing the photos, and saw that sometimes Tristan's prosthetic leg landed in a slightly different direction. I realized that as he was jumping and keeping up with the rest of the boys, the prosthetic leg had been moving around. I couldn't imagine how Tristan could play that well with his foot landing in different positions. I wouldn't have even noticed it if I hadn't been editing his photos.
When I told Tiffany, she said, "Yeah, Tristan keeps wearing them out." I was astonished. "Which reminds me," Tiffany said. "I need to tell you about the Middle School Mile."
A few days before I took the pictures, Tristan came home limping. When Tiffany asked him if he was in pain, he shrugged. Tiffany could tell that he was discouraged, and sat down to find out what was wrong.
Tristan told her that he had just run a mile at school. All of the students had to run a mile that day. Now this is the part of the story that always makes me cry. Tristan could have told his teacher that he couldn't run a mile. He could have left school early. He could have brought a note from his mom,excusing him from class. Instead, Tristan ran the mile. He later said "Mom, it took me seven minutes to run a mile in gym. I'm slow."
When all of the other kids in class had finished the mile, Tristan was half-way done. Everyone watched as Tristan finished the run. Can you imagine the courage that it must have taken for him to even attempt to run a mile in a prosthetic leg that moved each time it hit the ground, and was a little too short? Keep in mind that Tristan wore out the first prosthetic leg in less than a month. He was pushing himself hard enough to wear out nine legs, it was obvious he was working them as hard as he could.
I'm sure he was very aware of the other students as he made his way around the track. But Tristan did not quit. "All men have fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well." (Thomas S. Monson) Tristan is the bravest person I know.
The Middle School Mile will always be a reminder of Tristan's courage, perseverance, and grace. I asked him once if I could borrow some of his courage, and he said an enthusiastic yes. I took a favorite picture of him with me, and every time I felt fear or pain, I thought of the toughest kid I know. I remembered how he has handled every hurtle with dignity. He has suffered more in his short life than most people do in a lifetime. He will always be my favorite Superhero.