Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just Breathe...

We all take for granted our innate ability to just breathe. As a heavy ex-smoker I know what it's like to have labored breathing while working out and difficulty developing any kind of significant lung capacity for athletics. All pretty much essential to successful CrossFit and trail running.  I brought it on myself with my old lifestyle, and willingly pay the price of correcting it for the privilege of living the lifestyle I do now.

Not all of us create our own messes, some of us just have to deal with the body God gave us.  Here's a tiny insight in to one amazing young man and his family who are living such a life...


I first met Jake back in 2006 after hiring Eric as my coach.  Jake was also one of his clients, but far from your average fitness enthusiast.  Jake has Cystic Fibrosis.  I remember watching Eric coach Jake and listening to Jake's deep coughs and labored breathing while he fought his way through the workout Eric had set for him.  I never ever heard him make excuses, complain or quit. I watched them a number of times and the workouts Eric gave him were always seriously daunting.  I remember being struck by the kid's incredibly tough resiliency, determination, positive attitude and frequent smiles... once the workouts were over of course!

As some point I stopped seeing Eric and Jake train together and I lost track of him (he went away to school). Then his sister Lauren started training at the Academy and I immediately saw the similarities between them... same tough resiliency, positive attitude and ready smile.  Then earlier this year Jake visited our new facility and I was surprisingly pleased to see how much he had grown and filled out to manhood.  He looked absolutely fabulous.

Tom Bigley has been running with the Arrogant Bastard's for some time now and while I'd chatted with him and his wife Elaine casually, it wasn't until I joined the team that I was able to actually spend time with him.  The apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree because he also radiates this same high spirit, strong resiliency, athletic enthusiasm, positive attitude and warm, open smile.

The Bigley's are a joyfully impressive family and I've always been slightly in awe of them.  At least until a few weeks ago.  I knew nothing of Cystic Fibrosis until I received word from Eric that Jake was gravely ill and in the hospital.  After I did my homework, I realized just how great of a challenge was ahead of this young man and his whole family.  Cystic Fibrosis is a horrible and progressive disease.  Jake's lungs are failing and need to be replaced immediately.

On Facebook there is a link to an excellent website that the Bigley's are using to keep friends looped in to Jake's progress.  (here's the link, I highly recommend setting yourself up too, Jake is going through one hell of a journey and the more support the better... )

Today's post told us about how he was able to actually walk around the ICU with an entourage pushing his equipment behind him.  They even post memories of Jake's time with Eric and I have little doubt that Jake taps those difficult training session memories to help give himself the strength to push himself now.

My heart hurts at the pain Jake and his family are experiencing and I try to focus on the fact that God never gives us more than we can handle.  God must have a very high opinion of Jake and the entire Bigley family because I  know down to my toes that if any family can walk through this challenge and come out the other side stronger, it is this one.

Stay the course Jake, you have exactly what it takes to get though this!  To all the Bigley's... thank you for welcoming our support and stay tough family, you are all up for this challenge!

1 comment:

  1. awesome blog. thank you for sharing. i will definetly stay in the loop with link you provided. God bless Jake and his family.