Tom Willis may have born without arms or fully formed hands, but he hasn’t let that stop him from inspiring others.
Willis, who performs most everyday actions using feet, threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Wednesday’s baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. It’s all part of Willis’ Pitch for Awareness Tour, which aims to get Willis’ pitches and message in stadiums across the country.
“The Pitch for Awareness National Tour is my effort to educate people about the abilities of people with disabilities,” Willis told ABC’s Chicago affiliate WLS-TV.
“I was born with this disability and my mother basically said look we’re not going to give you any special attention,” Willis said. “You’re a member of the family and you’re going to do everything that everyone else does and I was not treated any differently.”
Willis has thrown out 18 pitches so far on the tour, nine of which were strikes. But according to Willis, the count isn’t what matters. What matters is getting his message out there. “With adults I teach them about turning obstacles into opportunities, challenges into championships, and making the impossible, possible,” he told WLS-TV.
With children Willis’ message is much simpler, but equally as valuable. “I try to teach them it’s okay to be different,” he said.