FAMU freshman, a cancer survivor, starts sneaker business

FAMU freshman Jacob Pumphrey. Photo courtesy: Pumphrey

This student entrepreneur has taken perseverance to all new heights with his unique story.

Jacob Pumphrey, a first-year business administration student, is both a cancer survivor and business owner whose experiences only pushed him to work harder.

At age 14, Pumphrey was diagnosed with a germinoma brain tumor, which is “a rare form of cancer that is most often found in the brains of children between the ages of 10 and 19 years old,” according to nicklauschildrens.org.

This prognosis could not have come at a worse time for Pumphrey, as he was an active kid involved in many sports. Ironically, this is where he first began to experience symptoms, while playing sports. Severe headaches turned into blurry vision, but still, Pumphrey played on.

“I would try everything I could to keep playing because of the type of person I am,” Pumphrey said. “I didn’t want anybody to say I was making excuses, so I went out there and played with only one eye open.”

After finding out the cause of the symptoms, Pumphrey said that the news was not the easiest to digest as he was on two travel teams at the time and felt his athletic career was just taking off.

“When I found out, it really hurt me because at that time in my life I was really going in with my basketball and baseball,” Pumphrey said. “It was just a hard point in my life for me, it was very depressing, and it felt like my whole world was falling apart right when it was about to come together.”

However, Pumphrey did not let this discourage him for long. As he underwent surgery, radiation and other treatments that could have had him “down and out,” Pumphrey decided to turn to others for motivation through his healing process.

“What kept me motivated the most was really my family and the people around me,” Pumphrey said. “Just seeing younger kids go through what I was going through and seeing how strong they were just inspired me. I wanted to let them see that we can do this, we can beat cancer, and we can come back from this and change the world.”

Photo courtesy: @2LiiveKicks on instagram

Now that Pumphrey has beat cancer, he has continued his journey with athletics, and intends now more than ever to change the world through his business, 2LiiveKicks. 2LiiveKicks is a business Pumphrey decided to begin where he buys, sells and trades shoes. Pumphrey’s love for shoes is what led him to start his business.

“The main reason I wanted to start my business is because of my cousin who owns her own shoe store in Houston called Premium Goods,” Pumphrey said. “She really made me fall in love with shoes and helped me get involved with the shoe game.”

Pumphrey says that he treats the shoe game like the stock market as it requires a lot of time and research. He buys the shoes and then sells them for their retail price, which depends on how it does in the market, and later makes a profit. So, unfortunately, sometimes Pumphrey is hit with a few losses when instances occur where he buys a shoe, a few days pass by, and the retail price of the shoe drops to where he now won’t make any profit. However, a few bumps in the road are nothing new to Pumphrey.

“I did have a lot of trials and tribulations, but my business and cancer are the same thing, I have to persevere,” Pumphrey said.

Pumphrey’s ultimate career goal is to continue to grow his business by opening stores soon after he graduates college. He then hopes to make enough money to build up minority communities and start up his own nonprofit for children’s cancer in order to “leave a good, lasting impact on the world.”

Pumphrey encourages every student going through hard times to keep pushing, stay positive, and always stay true to you.

Pumphrey has left a lasting impression on his friend, Ronnie Burns, a second-year computer science student, who shared what he feels about Pumphrey’s character.

“Jacob is very true to himself, so his pull of strength always goes with him and never goes away,” Burns said. “Jacob is Jacob, and no situation ever changes that.”