What a gem this area has in Stephanie Jallen.
The Wyoming Area graduate already has two bronze medals for her performance in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, for the Super G and Super Combined and hopes to bring home more medals in 2018 when she competes in South Korea.
Jallen was born with CHILD syndrome, or Congenital Hemidysplasia with Ichthyosis and Limb Defect Syndrome. Congenital means she was born with the disease. Hemidysplasia means it only affects half of her body. Ichtyosis means skin disorder; Jallen has struggled with painful rashes since she was born. Limb Defects affect her left arm and left leg as her entire left side is underdeveloped, leaving her left arm very short, and her left leg was amputated when she was an infant.
Nicknamed Hopper, Jallen uses a crutch mainly for balance but is happy to stand or move about on her one leg.
She seeks no special attention, though. She doesn’t consider herself special. She only sees herself as a human being with determination who trains hard, works hard and enjoys success.
Her trainer, Ernie Baul, has said, “Both missing limbs are on the same side of her body. No one else in the world has been able to get to where she is with what she has had to deal with.”
Jallen, however, doesn’t see herself as anything more than just a human being.
“I’m just being me,” she once said.
Talk about humble. Her modesty is only one thing that makes her so special.
The King’s College student, who resides in Harding, has found time in her unbelievably busy schedule to counsel young athletes, offering all kinds of encouragement to those who look up to her. She has encouraged Iraq war amputees and, when she was just 11 years old, spoke in Harrisburg to members of the Pennsylvania senate, telling them not to give up.
She enjoys success with such grace. Despite everything she has accomplished, she doesn’t see herself as being better than anyone else.
When she was honored as the Greater Pittston Person of the Year by the Sunday Dispatch in 2014, her presence packed the banquet room at the Gramercy Restaurant in Pittston.
Although she shared the spotlight with Pat Solano, who was honored with the Lifetime of Community Service Award that year, Jallen was the hit of the night. Solano made sure of that.
Recognizing not only Jallen’s talent but her bubbly personality and never-ending inspiring ways, Solano allowed her to steal the show.
Even then-Gov. Tom Corbett took a back seat to Jallen that night. It was her night.
And Jallen produced. With her medals dangling from her neck, she made her way to the podium with the same grace and determination she shows on the ski slope. She spoke humbly, modestly and confidently. Most of all, she thanked not only everyone in the room that night but everyone in the Wyoming Area community for supporting her quest to be the best Paralympic skier she could.
Jallen knows that, without the support of her family, her friends and her community, her success would not mean nearly as much to her as it does.
Stephanie Jallen is a one-of-a-kind special person. We’re lucky to have her represent not only her country, but our community, on the world stage.
We wish her well as she continues to train for the South Korea Paralympic Games. Regardless of what she accomplishes there, Stephanie Jallen is already a winner in our books.
— Times Leader