Ed is both a friend and a client of mine. When he first came out to train with me, I had no idea just how hard he’s battled in his life; nor did I know that the fact he was even in the gym with me training was a pretty massive deal in and of itself. As a trainer, I noticed that Ed has great upper body strength, but I thought his lower body was really tight and untrained. I was right, especially about the tight part. I quickly discovered why and I cannot tell you how incredibly impressed and humbled I am watching him train.
You see, Ed has Cerebral Palsy. Coming straight from here lists symptoms, “The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy.” I thought this was where it ended with him–with gym and outdoor training.
A few months ago, Ed took his training to the next level and ran his first race, which, as his trainer, I thought was an amazing feat. It wasn’t until one of his family members commented on his pictures that I found how extraordinary he truly is. It turns out that Ed was born premature. He was due in April, but was born January 23rd. The doctors had to get him out early because he was having a grade III brain hemorage which you can read about here. This was so severe that it caused his Cerebral Palsy. He was born at around two pounds. He needed to stay in intensive care for quite some time, as he couldn’t breathe on his own. Some doctors even said he may not live or be able to walk.
He proved everyone wrong then and he is STILL proving them wrong.
Physically, Ed has overcome multiple surgeries to correct his hips so that they’d be straighter with the rest of his body. He has surgically implanted arches in his feet and had his ankles loosened so he can pick his feet up more.
Mentally and emotionally, he’s had to deal with bullying throughout his life, which according to him was really bad in high school to the point where it still sticks with him today. If you ask me or any of the people that know Ed, it’s those people I feel sorry for.
Ed doesn’t miss any of my classes, he’s always the first one there and works extremely hard. Never once have I heard him complain or even make excuses. Not only does he workout hard, but he even comes to hot yoga with me as well. He strives to get the most out of every activity he does.
To say that he’s an inspiration is a vast understatement. It is unbelievably rewarding to work with someone with as much heart as he has. This weekend he is traveling to Mount Vernon and running not just his first Spartan Race, but the Super. For those that don’t know, that is an eight-mile race through a mountain, over walls, carrying heavy sandbags and buckets. It’s a pretty big deal that he is doing this considering where he started. I have no doubt in my mind that he will be OK, I see him week-in and week-out carrying all of those things up hills multiple times and even doing extra reps with people that aren’t finished yet.
This isn’t meant as a “what’s your excuse” piece, I do not enjoy guilting people and making them feel like failures because someone else with limitations works very hard. This is my way of saying good luck this weekend, Ed. Thank you for inspiring me and hopefully through this, many others.
I will be posting his progress and pictures through my trainer page.
Ed successfully completed the Spartan Super!