Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes Paralympian, Los Angeles Native, non-profit founder, and author Jamal Hill.
Jamal Hill started swimming in mommy and me swim lessons and instantly fell in love with the sport. Jamal Hill was only 10 years old when his body started to fail him. After swimming consistently throughout elementary school, Jamal was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome, a genetic disease affecting his extremities and causing him to be partially paralyzed for years.
Jamal began swimming again in high school and throughout college. Still, it wasn’t until age 23 that he let go of the shame he carried over his diagnosis and embraced all that his body could do. CMT threatened to alter Jamal’s entire life, including his passion for swimming. But through sheer will, faith and determination, Jamal has not only, over the years, regained his mobility, but he is also at the top of his game as a competitive swimmer.
Today, at 26, the Los Angeles native is ranked #1 in the US Paralympic 50 Free and #3 globally! And competed in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics on Team USA. Some of his accolades include the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series Indianapolis, 2nd (100-meter freestyle), 2018 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Para National Championships, 1st (100-meter freestyle, 50-meter freestyle), 2nd (100-meter backstroke), 2021 Cullen Jones Aquatic Athlete of the Year Award. Jamal Hill continues to give back to his community as well and pays it forward. Jamal founded the Swim Up Hill Foundation Inc., which will teach one million students how to swim annually by the fall of 2028.
Here is Jamal Hill in his own words about overcoming adversity and challenging stigma around disabilities:
For a long time, my diagnosis was a point of shame for me. I felt cursed. As soon as I stopped treating my disease as a negative. The blessings and opportunities started to appear.
We at the Evolving Man Project wish Jamal Hill the best at this year’s Paralympics and much continued success outside the pool. Today we honor Jamal Hill as our Evolved Man of the Week.