Toyota is all about helping Americans turn their drive, grit and determination into the hard work that gets things done. One place Toyota will showcase that relentless pursuit of American dreams in February: a new commercial featuring double amputee, U.S. Paralympian and Team Toyota swimmer Jessica Long, who didn't let her disability or a childhood that began in a Russian orphanage keep her from winning 23 Paralympic medals in many of the games' most challenging sports.

The commercial, titled "Upstream," aired during the Big Game on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Having had both her legs amputated below the knee in infancy due to a rare condition called fibular hemimelia, Long was adopted by her parents almost sight-unseen from Siberia when she was only 13 months old. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Despite having endured more than 25 surgeries to help mitigate her condition, through the support and encouragement of her adoptive family, Long soon developed a love of the water and the freedom she found there and excelled in her sport. She is currently the second-most awarded Paralympian in history.

“Every day, I walk with two heavy prosthetics. I may be a Paralympic athlete, but that doesn’t take away the fact that walking is hard,” says Long, 28. “The water has always given me so much freedom. Since I was a little girl, the water has been this place in my life where I just didn’t feel the weight.”

In the 60-second ad, Long is seen literally swimming through dramatized scenes of her life as a child, including scenes of her as a 10-year-old girl. The commercial ends in the moment her parents found out they had been approved for her adoption, juxtaposed with a dramatization of Long winning a race. Long said the ad is a perfect encapsulation of her journey from childhood to Paralympic glory.  

“It’s everything,” Long says of “Upstream.” “It’s everything I swam for, everything I’ve worked really hard for. My biggest hope is that young people see me, a girl without legs in the Paralympics, on TV, and think, ‘I can do that too.’”

Here at Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansas, we salute the determination and spirit of those like Jessica Long who overcome challenges and find a way to excel. To read more about the incredible story of Team Toyota Paralympian Jessica Long and to see the "Upstream" commercial, click here.

Do you need a tough Tacoma, sporty Camry or go-anywhere 4Runner to help you overcome your own challenges and make the most out of life, come see us today at Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansas, or check out our full selection of 2021 Toyota models at our website right now. 


 

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