Overcoming all odds: The Story of Notre Dame Usher Jim Felix
Four simple, powerful words.
“Welcome to Notre Dame.”
It’s too often a phrase you and I take for granted.
For 52 year old Usher Jim Felix, those four words have given him a second chance at life.
Felix was born in South Bend, but moved to the Chicago area with his parents when he was young.
“I had my own black and white t.v. in my bedroom, watching Notre Dame play DePaul, and seeing the golden dome. It’s a dream to be able to work here,” said Felix.
He was a healthy, happy teenager when he moved back to South Bend to start high school.
“We had a sub one day and we all went to play outside. It just felt like there was quick sand in my legs. And I was struggling to run base to base,” said Felix.
The news that would follow would be devastating.
“I have muscular dystrophy. Call it F.S.H. I was diagnosed in 1985,” said Felix.
Jim was eventually bound to a wheel chair at the age of 40, stripping away what mattered most in life: his independence.
But a year ago came the opportunity of a lifetime to become an usher at his favorite university.
“I’ve done basketball, I’ve done volleyball, I did the blue-gold game, I did a concert here. A few commencements. I’ve done quite a few things here. It’s nice variety. The excitement of the fans and greeting people. We have a lot of regulars that come to the games all the time. It’s nice that they remember me and I remember them. That’s really fun,” said Felix.
When it’s game time a shuttle will drop him off, he’ll get the rundown for the day and it’s off to section nine where he’ll greet the Irish faithful with those four magical words.
“Anybody who thinks they can’t do anything, you don’t know until you try. If you have a disability or there’s nothing they can do or can’t be part of the community, they’re wrong. You can do anything,” said Felix.