Jeff Steinberg humorously shares the lessons learned after he was born with no arms and 'gimpy legs.' God taught him he is a masterpiece in progress.
Jeff Steinberg: Why Having No Arms Doesn't Stop Me From Living LifeJeff Steinberg BioJeff Steinberg calls himself a masterpiece in progress, yet to see him, he looks anything but a masterpiece. You see, he was born with no arms and badly deformed legs and he grew up mostly in hospitals and homes for the disabled.
His Professional CareerHe began performing professionally in 1972. He is a speaker, singer, humorist, author, and has spent his days motivating and inspiring others all over the world for more than 45 years. Jeff has spoken at high schools and universities like Notre Dame, hospitals, and churches. He has spoken to US military troops. Jeff has shared the stage with the likes of Zig Ziglar, Pat Boone, Christopher Salem, Justin Dart, Art Linkletter, Daniel Miller, and even Senator Bob Dole.
The true highlight of Jeff's career was a memorable appearance on stage where he sang for Mother Teresa of Calcutta during her 1989 United States visit. He is the 13th inductee into the Good Shepherd Hall of Fame for Persons with Disabilities, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for his achievements in the field of music and his advocacy for the physically challenged. Jeff also won the 2015 and 2019 Heritage Award for Comedian of the Year from the Artists Music Guild. Jeff and his wife Ellen have a blended family of four children and he has nine grandchildren.
His Humorous Current JobOne of Jeff's current jobs is as an Uber driver where he meets many different people and gets all sorts of questions from "Were you born like that?" One kid called him "Captain Hook" due to the hook he wears as one of his hands.
Jeff's StoryJeff was born in 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was born with what doctors call phocomelia. Phocomelia is a congenital birth defect that usually manifests in deformed arms and legs. Jeff has a little stump that's about five inches long for his upper arm on his right side. He has no left arm. He also has malformed legs. When Jeff was born, his father made the decision not to tell Jeff's mother about his disability. His father was afraid his mother was not in a good place emotionally or mentally to deal with the news. So his mother did not find out about Jeff's condition until he was 17 months old. His mother blamed herself for his condition because she had been prescribed a medication to help her with the pregnancy that we now know is linked to phocomelia.
Care at ShrinersJeff was placed into the care of Shriners hospital when he was two and a half years old. They decided to perform surgery to see what they could do for Jeff's legs. They cut open his right knee and discovered there was no joint, just two bones that had fused together. So the doctors broke the bones and refused them so that his legs would be straight. They did not know that the growth tissue was damaged in the process. His legs did not grow after that procedure. Jeff is 4 feet, 6 inches tall.
Jeff then learned to do a lot of things with his feet. He learned to feed himself, as well as write and sign his name. At four years old he was fitted with his first leg brace and arm prosthesis. The prosthesis was a stump socket with a spoon attached. Jeff also went to school at the hospital. A teacher would come in every day, just like regular school. He would go home on some weekends.
Another HomeWhen Jeff was nine years old, his parents decided that they could no longer take care of him as well as his three sisters, so Jeff was placed in a foster home. He was there for about eight weeks and was then moved to Good Shepherd Home for children with disabilities. He remembers his parents telling them that he was going to excel here and that he would make a difference one day. But all he could th