Injured Marine swims Mississippi handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded

10:15 PM, Nov 13, 2011   |    comments
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  • Injured Marine Jay Platt swims a mile-stretch of the Mississippi while handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded
  • Jay Platt also hiked the Appalachian Trail
  • Jay Platt lost his left eye while in the Marines.

   One determined, injured Georgia Marine spent his Veterans Day swimming a mile of the Mississippi River while handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded. And he finished in about 45 minutes.

   Jay Platt told Chief Meteorologist Mike Francis about his risky mission recently, and Francis had two pressing questions:

   "How do you plan on not dying? You know you're crazy, right?"

   "My wife would agree with that!" Jay responded. "There is some degree of crazy there, definitely."

   It's the 'crazy,' plus an extra-large helping of dogged determination that earned Jay a reputation, and a pretty-impressive nickname.

   "Someone gave me that name a few years ago -- Mr. Unstoppable!"

   Unstoppable even when up against seemingly insurmountable odds.

   Jay has a type of cancer called Von Hippel-Lindau, which caused kidney cancer, brain and spinal tumors. He also lost his left eye while in the Marine Corp. Jay is now blind in that eye. He wears a glass eye so it's less noticeable.

   He could have resigned himself to a life of self-pity, but while talking to his doctor years ago, Jay said he realized that's not how he wanted his autobiography to end.

   "I went to my final physical," he said. "And, (the doctor) reached back into a filing cabinet and got some paperwork and said, uh, 'This will allow you to get a disabled veterans license plate, so you don't have to walk far.' I remember it like it was yesterday. I know he was trying to help me, but inside I was, like, 'Man, I will show him. I will show the world that this condition is not going to hold me back.'"

   So, Jay spent the last few months training to swim the choppy currents of the Mississippi. His big swim was about more than just bragging rights. Money raised during his effort goes to Wounded Warriors, an organization that supports military men and women injured in the line of duty.

   "Somebody out there always has it worse-off than I do," Jay said. "I try to remember that."

   And, for the civilians? Inspiration.

   "I'm no Superman, I'm just, you know, the average person. But, I  always tell people that if a one-eyed guy with a brain tumor can do the things he does, what can you do? This may not be the perfect life, the life you had planned, but guess what? This is the only life you're going to get. Better make the most of this life. I truly believe that."




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