Every once in awhile you come across a tale of such inspiring magnitude that you can’t help but be touched by it. Most success stories are but eye-candy, affording you glimpses of what others have accomplished, giving you fun ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots that affirm that great change is possible. But some stories go beyond simply changing your body, or having a strong will to take control of your lives. Some stories are truly beautiful and inspiring, and such is that of Cammie Lusk. Winner of the Beachbody Million Dollar Body competition by way of the P90X Workout, she proved with her success that love and will power can overcome even the greatest of foes, which in this case was Multiple Sclerosis.
Cammie was 28 when her left leg first when numb in the shower. The next day she stumbled into her husband Dan while they were walking, and then soon after she fell. The doctors told her that her form of MS was particularly aggressive, and soon she was forced to use a walking stick, then two, and then was bound to a wheel chair. She went from being an active mother who chased her boys and did aerobics to gaining 70lbs as she grew wheelchair bound. Depression, loss of hope and despair all set in, held back only by her love for her family and the support and love they showed her.
Fast forward a decade, and it’s April 2009. Her huband and sons are all working out to P90X, sweating and slaving away to get in shape. Dan, who realized that he was becoming increasingly unhealthy (two emergency trips to the ER because of his heart was evidence enough) had resolved to get in shape, and a late night P90X infomercial proved to be the stimulus he needed. Cammie would watch and encourage them on, until one day she decided she wanted to try too. At first she just did the arm movements, the strikes and bicep curls, using resistance bands and such, until she started getting out of her chair to do squats, and then get on the tread mill. Her weight began to drop, and soon the results became so dramatic that she was able to stop using all of her meds but one.
I was there in the Ballroom when Cammie was awarded her prize, and though the other three female finalists were stunning in their results and inspiring in their own ways, nobody came close to Cammie’s sheer resilience and determination. When Debbie Siebers called out her name and announced her the winner, 1,000 people rose roaring to their feet, thundering their applause and crying out their support and admiration. There were people openly crying as she gave her touching acceptance speech, her husband Dan crouched by her side, saying that it was his faith and love that helped her believe she could do this. She accepted the $25,000 check from Beachbody, and declared the whole Beachbody Coach team as her family, saying that it was because of their support that she had managed to get where she was today.
Working out is hard. Getting back in shape is even harder, and when you have some 50, 60, or even 120 lbs to lose, the odds can seem insurmountable. But the next time you’re thinking of skipping a workout, saying you don’t have the time, or there’s other stuff that needs to be done, think about Cammie Lusk. Think of the willpower it took to lever herself out of that wheelchair, to force her legs to cooperate on those first few squats, and how proud and wonderful she looked up on that stage when she was recognized for the warrior she is. And then take a look at your own challenges, and ask yourself: are they really that insurmountable?