Rap star Eminem might not seem like an obvious role model for a ten-year-old British amputee; this is a man, after all, who has rapped about murder and explicit sexual acts and generally done his best to offend a whole load of people. However, Teejay Stainer found strength in Eminem’s lyrics and used that strength to help survive his own personal ordeal. In October 2015, then, Steiner reached out to Eminem – and the hip-hop star’s response was simply awesome.
Teejay was born in 2005 in Winchester, England with a birth defect that resulted in him losing his lower right leg. It was initially believed that the boy would struggle to walk for the rest of his life.
But Teejay received a prosthetic limb from the U.K.’s Portsmouth Enablement Centre and set about proving everyone that he would indeed walk unaided. He’s said that Eminem’s lyrics created a sense of courageousness in him and pushed him to succeed.
In 2014, meanwhile, the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust gave Teejay the chance to tailor his prosthetic legs to his specific interests using T-shirt prints. And Teejay knew immediately who he wanted to feature on his limbs.
Teejay’s mom Georgina Stainer said, “We used some Eminem tops we got from his concert and Teejay loves them.” But despite being comfortable with using a prosthetic limb, the boy was still facing an upcoming surgical procedure on his reduced leg.
So in an effort to keep his son upbeat, Teejay’s dad Richard Stainer came up with a plan to see if the Eminem-styled limbs might be able to attract the attention of the rapper himself.
The Stainers uploaded a picture to social media of Teejay holding up a message for the rapper that read, “These are my Eminem legs I’ve had made. My wish is for Eminem to see them.” Teejay said later, “I just wanted to thank [Eminem] for getting me through the difficult times and show him how dedicated I am.”
Teejay’s mother explained, “We agreed to upload the photo as [Teejay] never complains and we felt he deserved some recognition for everything he’s achieved. We warned him Eminem might never see it, as we didn’t want him to be disappointed.”
But Teejay’s message quickly went viral, with the photo being shared across the internet by friends and strangers alike. In fact, just within the space of 24 hours, the image had been passed on more than 3,000 times.
It eventually reached in excess of 20,000 shares on all forms of social media. Richard and Georgina were overwhelmed both by the response and the amount of emotional messages they received.
Those impressive numbers meant that it was only a matter of time until the picture of Teejay reached Eminem himself. And some time later, a very special package arrived in the mail for Teejay.
Georgina recalled that Teejay “was so excited when we received the package.” Inside was a signed copy of Eminem’s Recovery album and a personalized message from the rapper himself.
Image: via The Dishh
“To: Teejay, I saw ur pic & read ur message! Thanks 4 the support!” the signed message read. Teejay was understandably astonished. “I think he sent me that album in particular because of the recovery that I’ve made,” the fan said.
“He was over the moon to read Eminem’s message – it means the world to him,” Georgina said. Certainly, for Teejay it must have been the perfect gift to give him a boost after what has been a long and arduous road to recovery.
Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Teejay was born with fibular hemimelia, which is a condition typified by the reduction or lack of a calf bone. At first, doctors thought the condition could be combated with custom-made shoes, but these were, unfortunately, not a long-term solution.
Moreover, if surgeons only operated on Teejay’s leg, Georgina explained, Teejay “would still require regular, quite major, operations to lengthen his shorter leg.” So they went ahead with the recommended amputation when Teejay was just 14 months old.
Teejay first encountered the lyrical stylings of Eminem the following year. Georgina said, “We have always taught [Teejay] to listen to the lyrics and their meanings and, as Eminem raps about surviving difficult times, it makes him feel brave.”
She went on, “Eminem is someone that has come from nothing and made something of himself, so he’s a hero for Teejay.”
And on the subject of Eminem’s often controversial subject matter, Georgina said, “Teejay likes the tracks because of their meanings, and we’ve never heard him swear.”
Image: Faceook/George Stainer
What’s more, if Teejay can come through an experience such as this with a smile, other hardships might not be so bad. “He’s living proof that no matter what life throws at you, you can get through it,” his mother said.