Future Weber State University student Landon Weeks, age 15, was born with phocomelia, meaning he has a short humerus and fused radius and ulna bones. His elbows do not bend, and he has only three fingers on each hand. However, this does not slow him down.
Weeks plays the piano and drums, cooks, sings, and plays basketball and video games. He said he has chosen to deal with his “handi-can” with humor rather than sadness. He has even written an entire album in which he has changed the lyrics of popular songs to enliven his situation, like “A Whole New Arm.” His other songs include “Hundred Arms,” “Bad Arm” and “Just the Way You Arm.”
Weeks’ parents are WSU alumni. His father, Mathew Weeks, graduated in Spanish and zoology, and his mother, Lanette Weeks, graduated in elementary education. Mathew Weeks is now a family practice doctor for Intermountain Healthcare.
Weeks recently won the KSL Talent contest “R U Talented?”, which was a part of the TV show We R Utah. He played the piano and sang for his talent. The contest included many high schools in Utah. He won the preliminary round and made it to the finals, where he competed against five other high schools. Weeks won with 51 percent of the vote. He had more than 22,000 votes in the weeklong contest.
Weeks said he had a lot of support during the contest. Several students handed out 5,000 fliers to advertise the contest and tell people where to vote for him online. Many of the elementary schools opened their computer labs for students to come in and vote. Weeks’ mother came to WSU and voted on every computer in the Shepherd Union Building and nearly every computer in Elizabeth Hall.
“Everyone has been so kind in allowing us access to their computers,” Lanette Weeks said. “Weber State has so many wonderful computer labs, and we are so grateful they allowed us to vote on them.”
The winner was announced on KSL 5 TV.
“I was in shock,” Weeks said. “I was so grateful and relieved.”
Weeks won $1,000 for himself and $10,000 for Bonneville High School.
“This is so cool!” Weeks told Darin Adams, host of KSL 5’s We R Utah TV program. “I can’t believe this is real!”
The principal of Bonneville High School put Weeks in charge of delegating the $10,000. His tentative recipient list includes $1,000 for the library, English department, foreign language department (Weeks is currently studying German) and the “Laker to Laker” program that helps underprivileged students. Weeks is also paying for every student to attend the annual Winter Dance held at the school as a way of thanking those who voted.
On Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, Weeks played the final song at a Jon Schmidt piano concert at the Pleasant Valley Library. Weeks said Schmidt is his favorite pianist. Weeks received a standing ovation for his performance of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”
“This has been the best day ever!” Weeks said after the concert.
Weeks will get his driver’s license on Feb. 29, 2012. He does not need any special adaptations to drive, which he said he is grateful for.
Weeks said he is very excited to graduate from Bonneville High School and begin his studies at WSU in the fall of 2014.