Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014
Disabled Marion Man Shares Musical Gift For Christmas
MARION -- For many people, Christmas is a day to exchange gifts with loved ones, and for a local Marion man the holiday is no different.
However, for Joey Odum, the gift he's sharing with family and friends can't be bought at a store or wrapped under a tree.
"Joey loves his music and for other people to know that he does a good job means a lot to me," said Joey's fiance, Michele Bratcher.
Odum's guitar riffs will move your toes, but his perseverance will move your spirit.
"There was never an ounce of doubt in my mind that I would do it one day," said Odum.
The 24-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy. A physical disability he's had since birth. It severely limits his motor skills and makes it a struggle just to walk.
"I'm in so much pain my hands will barely move for the first few hours," explained Odum.
He began the difficult task of learning to play guitar at the age of three, with the hopes of one day forming a band. After years of practicing his very own modified playing technique, he finally formed the Joey Odum Blues Band. But even after creating his own band, the doubters followed.
"They would say things like, how is this guy going to get up and do this," said Odum. "Then by the second or third song the crowd is on their feet."
Turning fans into believers is what Odum does. He said his proudest moment came years ago, during an emotional concert with a disabled fan in the front row.
"She had been in an accident and she was a musician," said Odum. "She said that I had brought hope back into her life, and that was the coolest thing."
His fiance hopes his story will inspire others like he has inspired her.
"To me a Christmas gift is something more than going to a store," said Bratcher. "It's reaching in your heart and doing something meaningful for somebody else."
Odum plans to continue to play his music, and share his story, for everyone to hear. "It just makes me feel good to know that my music puts a smile on someone's face and make them happy," he added.
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Humidity: 61 %