Armless Man and Legless Man Unite

Discussion in 'The Water Cooler' started by cybercore, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Sometimes even an armless man can lend a hand.

    On Friday night, Jim Goldman -- a man without arms -- along with legless man Danny Frasier and others, performed at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., to raise money for 10 local women planning to do mission work in Kigoma, Tanzania, this summer.

    Organized by Dan Meyer, a Muncie resident and founder of Swords Swallowers Association International, the show was titled "Swords for Africa."


    Meyer, Goldman and Frasier were joined by Rupert Boneham from "Survivor" and NFL punter Hunter Smith. Each donated their time for the cause.

    The eclectic group came together after Mary Ruble, one of the women heading to Africa, approached Meyer at the church they both attend.

    "I found out about the talents he had to offer and asked if he'd be willing and able to help raise some money," Ruble told AOL News during rehearsal. "He invited some friends and it's grown into this."

    Clearly, Meyer has some unique friends.

    "Because I know these guys as my friends, I know what they can do and how inspiring they are to me, and how they will blow the audience's mind once they step out on stage," Meyer said.

    "The things all of the performers in the show have in common is that we've all learned to overcome obstacles to do what seems impossible to others, and by doing so, we can help change people's attitudes and in our own way, help change the world," he added.

    That notion, along with the women's trip to Africa, resulted in the program's theme: "Do the Impossible, Change the World."

    The several hundred people who filled the auditorium were treated to a host of performances that brought that theme to life.

    Frasier, who stands 2 feet, 10 inches and walks with his hands, opened with his "World's Smallest Elvis" act. Dressed in flashy garb true to the King, he sang "CC Rider" and mimicked Presley's moves across the stage.

    The 26-year-old started entertaining as a little Elvis seven years ago after seeing another artist impersonating him at a restaurant.

    "He pulled me up on stage and I had no interest in Elvis whatsoever, and I got to dancing and everything," Frasier said. "After seeing him perform, I figured hey, if he can do it, why can't I?"

    He followed the impression with several other songs in his repertoire and an inspiring talk about his condition and how he's overcome the odds against him.

    Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, Frasier's legs were twisted in such a way that he'd never be able to use them. The state put him into foster care and by the age of 3 he was adopted. At about the same age, doctors decided to amputate his legs, leaving only small stumps to keep the option for prosthetics open -- though he doesn't use any.


    "I'm not missing nothing," he said of his lost legs. "I don't let nothing stop me or slow me down. I just keep a positive attitude."

    Frasier took a 10-hour drive in his Chevy Silverado (equipped with hand controls) from Alabama to be part of the show.

    "I think it's wonderful," he said of fundraiser. "If it's something to change the world, to make it a better place to live, hey, I'm all for it."

    Goldman's act proved nothing is impossible for him. On stage, he displayed a range of skills showing the remarkable dexterity he's achieved with his feet -- from simple everyday tasks such as wiping his nose and brushing his teeth to using a circular saw and shooting a basketball (he made the shot).

    "I can use my feet just like you use your hands," Goldman said.

    He even proved he could use his feet to do things most people don't do with their hands -- throw knives. With accuracy. From about 20 feet away, he stuck a series of blades in a wooden target.

    "They don't have a clue," he said. "They tried to fit me with artificial limbs, but I wouldn't wear them. I taught myself everything."

    That includes driving. Goldman, who's been featured in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and many other programs around the world, made a 4½-hour trip from his home in Illinois. His truck is not modified in any way.

    "They're trying to raise money to do a good thing, so I'll volunteer my time," he said.

    When not performing, he leads hunting and fishing expeditions, owns a bar and runs a landscaping business.

    "You find something I can't do, that's when we'll talk," he said.

    Smith, who spent 10 years as a punter for the Indianapolis Colts, discussed adversity within the NFL before playing several original songs on his guitar.

    Marc Hartzman
    Rupert Boneham spoke about his perseverance on the reality show "Survivor."
    Boneham, a local celebrity who gained national fame on "Survivor" and ultimately won $1 million after being voted "America's Favorite Survivor," spoke about his perseverance on the show, including vivid descriptions of eating maggots and nearly losing a toe.

    Boneham's winnings have allowed him to further his work mentoring troubled youths in the community through his nonprofit organization, Rupert's Kids.

    "Giving the empowerment back to our youth is beautiful," Boneham said. "That's what I love doing."

    Meyer continued the evening's theme by doing what many find too unbelievable to be real -- swallowing very long, sharp pieces of steel. He discussed his three years of training to master the rare art of sword swallowing, then demonstrated the skill with not only swords, but giant hedge clippers and a 17-inch straight razor.

    As a grand finale, Meyer invited Frasier back to the stage to climb a ladder and yank a sword from his throat with a whip.

    "The performances were great, but my lasting impressions were actually formed behind the scenes as I observed Jim [Goldman] and Danny [Frasier] just living their lives," Ruble said. "I realized how much I take for granted every single day of my life. These guys are not only amazing in what they do, but in how they give of themselves."

    Moses Lanham, a man who can rotate his feet 180 degrees, was scheduled to perform, but his car was struck by another driver on his way to Muncie and he was unable to attend.

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