Lithuanian-born Jonas Zimnicki has been told many times throughout his life that there are things that he can’t do. Now he is proud to be starring in our new national campaign, which asks people to create a world where disabled people are seen for what they can do.
He was delighted to be asked to appear in our new awareness campaign, because the message is one he truly believes in. Jonas is currently appearing in a TV advert and posters on billboards promoting the campaign, which encourages everyone to see people for what they can do.
Looking good and feeling great
Jonas has always enjoyed sport, especially playing basketball and sprinting. He worked as a fitness trainer in a gym before setting up his own personal training business.
His love of physical exercise has additional benefits too; Jonas is also a fitness model, and came fourth in the first competition he entered, the Miami Pro UK Fitness Championships. A devoted father of 2, his favourite thing is seeing them wake up in the morning with excitement for the new day.
As a child growing up in Northern Poland, Jonas felt that his limp (caused by a deformed leg at birth) made people see him as stupid. Teachers told him that he would never run or play basketball.
“I have had constant barriers to overcome,” says Jonas.
Jonas moved to the UK aged 19, where he was spotted by talent scouts for the 2012 Paralympics.“I was lucky enough to train alongside Jonnie Peacock for 2 years, but my hopes of competing in Team GB were dashed when I failed to make the qualifying time in the 100m sprint."
“Sometimes the barriers have made me doubt myself, but overall discovering what I can do has made me stronger.”
“I like showing people what I can do, and in my work I like to inspire people to look and feel good themselves. I want disabled people to view themselves as equally able and attractive as non-disabled people.
“People might tell you that you can’t do things, but at the end of the day you have to try for yourself.”