James Healey IV


James HEALEY is an enthusiastic Motivational Speaker that specializes in self-development, personal growth, identity crisis and confidence building. He is a licensed facilitator in the Alternative to Violence Project which makes him an ideal candidate for speaking engagements. James has given talks to students at DeSales University and Lafayette College on how determination and grit helped him overcome adversity and built him into the stronger and smarter person he is today. His speeches are focused around the idea that each individual is the creator of their own world.

His personal experience of being born without a tibia and a current amputee provide the audience with an authentic perspective that leaves them with a lasting impression that any challenge can be overcome and any dream can be achieved.

Presently, James Healey also works as an Applications Engineer at NAURA-Akrion, a company that specializes in semiconductor cleaning equipment. His daily tasks include meeting with salesman to discuss product enhancements on existing equipment and meeting with team members from all necessary departments to plan and schedule resources. James also remains to be an active member of his community.


One of James’ values he holds close to heart is to lead by example and leave the world a better place than how he found it. After years of enduring verbal and physical bullying, he learned the value of how a positive mind-set is a key factor in pursuing goals and overcoming adversity. Growing up hearing comments about his physical appearance, he began to believe he was different. After falling into a deep depression, he understood the importance of acknowledging the separation between the thinker and the thoughts. The thinker drives the thoughts, not the other way around.

When he could not control his surroundings, he realized one thing that he did have control over and that was how he responded. He sees much of himself in other people and knows that if they are guided in the right direction, it may lead to a lifetime of change that could have the potential to reshape countless lives.

James is an ideal speaker for these topics because he has first hand experience overcoming the struggles of his own. Anyone who endures mental and physical differences always deal with confidence hurdles that are due to how they view the world around them. Actions of what people say and do are reflections of how they feel. Failure is a great teacher and should be promoted as one. During James’ talks he stresses that confidence is a result of giving yourself the freedom to try and fail. Not promoting failure, but accepting it and using it as a learning tool.

James believes that most people do not fear failure. People fear that when they do try and fail, the realization that they may not be good enough carries such a weight that they shut down all efforts to make attempts to improve. The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem. Identifying who you are and what drives you is key. Knowing thyself is one of the most difficult but rewarding challenges a person could take on.


James had a taste of adversity right from the start. Born 9lbs 14oz without a tibia in his right leg, the doctors did not see a reason to keep the limb. His parents did not want to amputate in hopes that one day he would have full use of his leg, so they chose an alternative option called an Ilizarov operation.

An Ilizarov operation is a leg lengthening procedure that involves drilling steel rods through the bone, connecting the bars with steel rings, then breaking the bone in between the steel rods. As the bone heals the rods are pulled apart one millimeter at a time by use of a wrench, resulting in a longer limb. His first operation began when he was three years old. The doctors instructed that James wear the bulky apparatus for 13 months on and six months off to allow his body time to heal. He would repeat this process 4 more times for a total of 5 Ilizorov operations.

During this time wearing the apparatus he was not able to walk upright so he adapted by crawling around on his hands and feet when at school and in the backyard playing with his two younger brothers. This strengthened James physically and gave him the mental toughness to take on any challenge life has to offer. One of James’ favorite quotes was said by Martin Luthur King Jr. “The goal one day is to fly. When you cannot fly then run, when you cannot run then walk, if you cannot walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” Hearing this quote gave James a lasting impression that will and determination is the most powerful force one could have.

After the fifth Ilizorov operation. James was ten years old and he was still not able to walk upright without a brace on his leg and a six inch lift on the bottom of his shoe.

At the age of 14 he was faced with another challenge. Either commit to another series of Ilizarov operations, or have an amputation done. It was a heavy decision to make because all the time in hospital beds, attending physical therapy rehab assignments and missed opportunities to play with his friends were spent in hopes that one day he would have full use of his leg. With the help and encouragement from his family James decided to go ahead with the amputation. Surgery went well. James spent 45 days in the hospital bed and soon after was fitted with his first prosthesis. With the support and guidance from his brothers James learned how to walk all over again.

Despite the operations and amputation James remained an active member of his community. Being involved and regularly participating in sporting events and community service activities. James achieved Eagle Scout, the highest rank of the Boy Scouts. His Eagle Project consisted of constructing a cobblestone walkway at Raubsville Baseball Field in Easton, PA which leads up to a plaque and a 50’ flagpole, which still stands today.

No matter what challenges lie ahead, it is important to remember that there are people like you out there. You are obligated to push past these hardships, pass down your knowledge to the next generation, and leave this world a better place than how you found it.

To contact James, please write to jxh16@pct.edu.


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