Jerry Levasseur

Photo credit: David Colby Young of the Maine Track

Jerry Levasseur has led a productive and happy life, but from the way it started, you never would have believed it possible. At the age of 6, Jerry went to the Barnum and Bailey Circus with his mother. He would never see her alive again.

In 1944, fire broke out under the big top, triggering a widespread panic. Within 10 minutes, the whole thing went up in flames. More than 700 people were injured and 168 were killed. Jerry survived under a pile of bodies, including his mother’s, who shielded him from the flames.

He barely survived; the fire left him with severe burns all over his body. Eventually his body started to heal, but his childhood was further scarred by the constant teasing he experienced about his burn scars.

Everyone assumed he couldn’t do anything, but Jerry proved them wrong. He became an incredible athlete, finding ways to overcome his permanent injuries. Today, in his mid-70s, he’s still proving people wrong as a world champion masters track star.

He’s also passionate about mentoring young people and teaching them that they can do anything in life with the right attitude.

Listen to our inspirational conversation with Jerry to find out how powerful and resilient the human spirit can be.