Paralympian Jamal Hill secured a bronze medal in Tokyo. With his nonprofit, he hopes to lower global drowning rates.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Every four years the Olympic games shines a light on remarkable athletes around the world and their remarkable stories. Jamal Hill, a native from Inglewood, is no different.
"I was a part of mommy and me with my mom," Hill said. "Came up in swimming lessons, joined the swim team at a very young age. Due to my neuropathy, ultimately, stopped swimming at the age of 10."
At 10 years old Hill was diagnosed with a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie Tooth, but that didn't stop the Paralympian from winning a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle in Tokyo this year.
"Only three people in every event get to have that honor and that distinction," Hill said. "To have brought my 'A-game' in amongst the best in the world, [and] been able to come out top three is a great honor."
After essentially being in a state of full body paralysis, Hill said it was the support from his parents that motivated him to re-learn how to walk and get back into sports.
"They believe that I shouldn't be limited," Hill said. "That I shouldn't go and start to place myself in this box of, you know, what limits are usually stigmatized regarding disability."
In 2020, Hill decided to pursue another passion by founding his nonprofit, the Swim Up Hill Foundation, in an attempt to lower the global drowning rate starting with his community in Inglewood.
"A lot of people in low and middle income communities don't know how to swim," Hill said. "People of color, whether it be nationally or internationally. It's an endemic. Too many lives lost. Almost a million every single year."
Hill's Swim Up Hill Foundation has a goal of teaching one million people how to swim annually by 2028 and although not all one million people will get a bronze medal like him, Hill said the main goal is to spread swim education.
"There's so much of our community, of people of color, that are not engaging in swim education," Hill said. "Whether it's free, whether it is accessible, and that's because there's no bridge."
Hill said he hopes to be that bridge for his community. For more info on the Swim Up Hill Foundation, visit this website.