Athletes who overcame amputations to continue playing the game they love will share their stories with local players.

The Waxahachie Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in conjunction with the International Institute of Sport (IIOS), will hold events on Nov. 14 with the Haiti National Amputee Soccer team to promote amputee awareness.

The WHS FCA will hold a meet and greet with the soccer team Haiti team at George W. Solis Gymnasium at 5 p.m. and host an amputee soccer demonstration game at Lumpkins Stadium at 7 p.m.

The IIOS was founded five years ago by Fred Sorrels who wanted to bring the joys of soccer to amputees in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake that took the lives of more than 100,000 people.

One person who plays on the team is MacKendy Francois, whose left leg was amputated because of an injured he got in the earthquake.

“He had played soccer before, but when he lost his leg – they actually had to saw it off – he wasn’t able to work,” Sorrels said.

Francois found a new life through Sorrels’ 501c3 nonprofit organization after being cast away by his native country.

“All I knew was suddenly I was an amputee,” Francois said during an interview with Arizona’s Mesa 11 in 2010. “In Haitian society being it means you’re put aside. I assumed from then on I would be a total cast off.”

Francois isn’t the only person the IIOS has positively impacted. Midlothian resident Craig Till, the only person on the U.S. National Amputee soccer team from Texas, has been to two Amputee World Cups since joining the team.

Till was born with a bone disease and chose to have his left leg amputated at the age of 16.

“It taught me to appreciate the small things,” Till said. “Growing up I might have one of those woe is me moments, but my parents were really good about taking me to hospitals and seeing cancer patients that can’t walk. I realized at the age of 8 years old that no matter how bad you have it, there’s someone who has it 20 times worse, so count your blessings.”

Till said there are a lot of disabled people and amputees that don’t have a positive outlook on life given their setbacks. But technology and opportunity are out there for people with amputations, he said, and he hopes this event will open their eyes to new possibilities.

“The outlet is there, it’s up to them to figure out what they want to do with their life. In Ellis County – Waxahachie and Midlothian – there are those amputees that are waiting for an event like this to come along and be the springboard or stepping stone for them to live the rest of their lives and to function, excel and thrive.”

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