• When Jordan lost his legs to a boating accident when he was a teen, he said he was lucky that his parents were doctors who can afford his expensive prosthetics.
  • Realizing that several children did not have access to such treatments, he launched a foundation to help.
  • His foundation has since provided 81 kids with artificial limbs.

Jordan Thomas was just 16 when he lost both his legs to an accident. He has since made it his mission in life to help other kids get the prosthetics they need but couldn’t afford.

On Aug. 16, 2005, Jordan went on a fishing trip with his parents in the Florida Keys. He jumped into the waters, but turbulent waves kept crashing in and pushed him behind the boat. His mother, who thought that her son was a safe distance away, fired up the boat engine.

The propeller ended up pulling him in, slicing his legs off.

Jordan said that he would not have survived the bloody incident had his parents not been doctors.

Photo Credit: Jordan Thomas

Jordan was treated for two weeks, after which he did physical rehab for one week. It was at that Miami hospital that he noticed that several children could not afford prosthetics — or even basic healthcare.

But the child who inspired Jordan to act didn’t suffer from limb loss. The 8-year-old boy had suffered third-degree burns over 80% of his body after playing with matches at the orphanage. The boy was all alone, and Jordan found it unacceptable. He realized he had to help.

He told PEOPLE in this week’s issue, “I recognized how fortunate and lucky I was to not only not have to worry about the prosthetic coverage side of things, but also to have friends and family around me and support.” 


Jordan researched about it and found out several financial issues involving prosthetics. Most were too expensive, especially the complex ones, which are not covered by insurance. Insurance also doesn’t always cover upgrades when kids outgrow their prosthetics.

He knew that kids needed more than the basic prosthetics. They had to be able to still run around, jump, swim, and ride bikes.

“I can’t image being a parent and telling your child that you can’t afford that. Every kid deserves equal access to their childhood,” he said.

He added that he was able to continue his love for golfing because his parents could afford the $24,000 for special golfing legs.


He was still recovering in the hospital when he launched the Jordan Thomas Foundation, which aims to provide prosthetics for children under 18.

Around 16 years later, Jordan, now 32, has raised millions with his foundation. They have provided 81 kids with artificial limbs. He is also lobbying Congress for fairer health insurance.

Photo Credit: Jordan Thomas

Jordan said that he does not see himself as some kind of hero: “I’m a human being that was dealt some cards and I’m playing those cards as best I can.”