Nearly two years ago, Redcar-based sporting great Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson was special guest at a disabled school sports meeting Jade was attending.
She invited Jade, of Brambles Farm, to try wheelchair racing and the talented youngster hasn’t looked back since.
But to continue her sporting journey, she now desperately needs sponsorship to help with travel expenses.
Ormesby School pupil Jade, 14, has made rapid progress in the sport and currently lies second in the UK rankings, behind Paralympian Shelly Woods, and sixth in the world Under-16s category.
Training with Dame Tanni and her husband Ian has brought Jade on leaps and bounds since her first competitive race in Gateshead in May 2008.
She currently does 90 minutes of training six days a week, with conditioning and exercises every two days.
“Some days I can be out on the road for an hour, other days I’m sprinting. It’s hard work but I need to do it,” she said.
“When I’m racing, it’s a real adrenalin rush at the beginning. Then it’s all about using strength and technique.
“And when you win, you can’t describe it, really.
“My ambition is to win a gold medal at the Paralympics in London in 2012.”
Jade, who is also asthmatic, is very matter-of-fact about her disability, explaining how she was born with her knee effectively attached to her hip.
She said: “I used to have a false leg but I didn’t like it so I use crutches now.
“My right leg went down to where my knee was on my left leg.
“I had my foot amputated about four years ago after it started going limp. I sometimes tried to use it but once I fell and hit my head on a door frame, so the specialists at Great Ormond Street said amputation was the best option.
“I haven’t really let it affect me. I’ve tried to do as much as I can. Riding a bike’s about the only thing I couldn’t do. I’ve just tried to get on with it.”
Jade’s packed schedule will see her visit Switzerland at least three times this year, plus trips to meetings in Germany, possibly the Czech Republic and lots of domestic events.
“Last year, I was competing across the world and it’ll be even busier this year.
“Tanni has loaned me her wheelchair, but it’s getting to the events I need help with.
“I just want to try to get to as many as possible.”
Dame Tanni said: “She’s just got that spirit inside her. She’s committed and she wants to be the best in the world - that’s a pretty good starting point.
“I absolutely believe she’ll get to the Paralympics.
“It’s going to be lots and lots of hard work but if I can have any wish, it would to be sitting at the finish line in London in 2012, watching Jade Jones compete.”
Mum Beverly , who is Jade’s carer, as well as being mum to Lisa, 19, and Abbie, eight, says she’s immensely proud.
She said: “Throughout her life, Jade has just got on with anything that’s come her way.
“UK Athletics are aware of her success and potential but she was too young to be granted funding for this season, which is going to include competing nationally and internationally.
“We do get some help from Sport Aid and Sporting Chance, but this goes nowhere towards the amount of events she needs to enter.
“She is destined to achieve great success and I want to do anything I can to help her achieve her dream.”
To help Jade out, email firstname.lastname@example.org