physical challenges

my daddy takes his legs off

gary harmon


speaking engagements

challenge accepted

teaching tolerance


overcoming adversity

teachers with disabilities

parents with disabilities

children with parents who have disabilities


Gary was born after experiencing amniotic band syndrome in utero.  What that means is the inside layer of the amniotic sac, for unknown reasons, developed tears in the walls into which Gary grew.  These tears inhibited the growth of his hands and feet.  He has legs and ankles, but no feet at all.  He has a left hand with a thumb and pinky only and no right hand.  

Most people who know Gary say they notice the difference for a few minutes, and then we forget it.  Because of this, Gary has always felt he lived in two worlds, and he wants to bring them closer together by encouraging a dialogue about our similarities instead of highlighting our differences.

Gary is a proud father of two children. Gary and his wife, Katherine, reside in Knoxville, Tennessee.   He teaches for the Knox County, TN school system and has lived in Knoxville since 1979 when he moved here to attend the University of Tennessee. 

Gary is also the founder and president of Challenge Accepted, a support, education, and advocacy group for people with disabilities. 

Gary is now an author of a book, “My Daddy Takes His Legs Off” which was written from his life experiences with his daughter.

Snippets of My Life

My arms and legs are unlike yours, but our hearts are the same.

There were three goals in my mind when I wrote my book.

  1. 1.I wanted to record an event that became a great learning moment  

    for my family.

  1. 2.I wanted to encourage dialogue between parents and their children about people with disabilities so children will not fear us when they see us.

  1. 3. I want the book to open opportunities for me to talk to groups of people about how we all have value, about how we all can succeed, about how our attitude and faith shape our lives.