SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – This Wednesday, the United States Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team will begin their quest for a gold medal in the Paralympics.

One of the 12 players in Tokyo representing our country, hails from right here in the Bay.

Jorge Sanchez has overcome odds his entire life and basketball has been a major reason for that.

It has been a lifetime dream for Sanchez.

“Ready to go out there and compete with the best and hopefully bring home a gold medal to the Bay Area,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez, a Dublin native, is one of the 12 members of the United States Paralympic Wheelchair basketball team.

“It’s been a difficult road but definitely worth it. It’s given me absolutely everything I have from independence to a professional career,” Sanchez said. 

A difficult road is putting it lightly. 

At 8-years-old, Jorge was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left femur. 

After six months of chemo, his parents gave him a choice.

“Either keep your leg and have a 50% chance of the cancer coming back or have your leg amputated and I decided to amputate my leg because I was ready to be done with everything. I wanted the cancer to be over with I was done with surgeries,” Sanchez said. 

Unfortunately, the trauma was not over.

“The doctor pulled the skin a little too much and it completely opened up the next day. Went into a two and a half month coma and almost died. So I am not even supposed to be here, so the fact that I am speaking to you, going to my first Paralympics is a huge blessing,” Sanchez said. 

The recovery from that was grueling, both physically and mentally.

“It was very difficult after my amputation. I used to be very shy and timid, used to not go out the house because people would stare at me and it made me feel very insecure,” Sanchez said. 

But when he was introduced to wheelchair ball, everything changed.

“That’s when I realized, I can possibly go to college and get a full-ride scholarship. I attended University of Texas and received a full ride to go there, and my coach was like you are gonna be a good player, and I kept working till I made Team USA,” Sanchez said. 

Now, the goal is clear.

“If we win every single game we’ve accomplished our goal of gold, so we are striving for that,” Sanchez said.