This year, limb difference awareness groups cheered as Central Florida native Shaquem Griffin made history as the first one-handed player picked in the NFL draft.
Taken in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks, Griffin has continued to dismiss limits, in his words “against all odds."
Griffin's sentiment inspired many to accept and celebrate limb differences, including 1-year-old Joseph Tidd and 34-year old Amy Siesel, who were seen in a video making the rounds on social media.
"There was a special connection there, an understanding Joseph had that we were the same,” Siesel said.
The pair met through the Florida chapter of The Lucky Fin Project, an online support network for people with limb differences to connect and encourage one another.
Siesel, who lives in St. Petersburg, said she found the group on Facebook and drove to Orlando for a special meet and greet. She said it was her first time meeting a group that shared challenges she had felt alone battling as a child.
“I’ve searched and prayed for that my whole life,” Siesel said.
In the video, Siesel is seen kneeling down to give the little boy a fist bump, and as soon as she does, he melts into her for an embrace.
"I hope others can feel the love I felt in that moment,” Siesel said. "I’m an entire generation apart from little Joseph. My hope is that he’ll grow up in a world that’s different from the one I grew up in because people will be more aware, more educated, more accepting and loving.”
The gathering was arranged by Joseph’s mother, Colleen Tidd, in a neighborhood park near Windermere. She said as she watched her son meet Siesel “something clicked,” and thanks to a cell phone, she will have that moment forever.
"I want the world to see that everyone is unique and that my son will be able to do everything,” Tidd said.
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