When Jessica was about a year and a half old, doctors decided to amputate both of her lower legs.
In an Instagram post, Jessica explained that her parents got her a babydoll, removed the legs, and then covered the spots where the legs had been cut with a pair of casts so that Jessica had a matching friend waiting for her after surgery.
Instagram; pictured above is a photo Jessica shared of her and her baby doll after she had her legs amputated
Jessica later learned to take her first steps with prosthetic legs. As Jessica grew up, she became interested in a variety of sports and activities, including ice skating, cheerleading, and gymnastics.
But when Jessica started spending Sunday afternoons at the pool her grandparents had, it was clear she had a talent in the water.
It wasn’t long until Jessica was swimming in competitions, and at just 12-years-old, she went to Athens, Greece, to compete in the 2004 Paralympic Games.
She was the youngest person to be competing on the team that year.