AFTER TWO YEARS IN PRISON, ETHAN HALL EARNED RESPECT AND FREEDOM.
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT: THE STORY OF CLARK FREDERICKS
Like many of us, Ethan Hall is all too familiar with the “wrong” path.
Not everyone, however, is able to make it right.
“I served two years in prison because I took a terrible path,” he said. “I was a fighter, drinker and substance abuser. All of those things make it easy for someone to lose sight of what is important in life, and that’s what happened to me.”
ANTHONY MERRITT FOUGHT OFF AN ADDICTION TO DRUGS AND BINGE-EATING TO LOSE NEARLY 200 POUNDS.
Clark Fredericks was raped at age 12.
But the grooming started years before by a man that he not only looked up to but trusted completely – a Lt. in the local Sheriff’s department, a trusted family friend and boy scout master.
“What the abuse did was destroy my childhood, destroy my trust and destroy my faith,” Fredericks said. “My mind, in order to protect me, told me that talking about the abuse was equal to reliving it and we surely didn't want to do that. And thus, my biggest regret in life began and that was the keeping of a debilitating secret.”
NATHAN STENBERG PERSEVERED AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH CEREBRAL PALSY, LOST 100 POUNDS, AND IS NOW A PERSONAL TRAINER
For six years, Anthony was addicted to heroin and meth. Certainly, addiction in any form is incredibly difficult to fight through.
It takes strength and courage to admit you have a problem, and even more to fix it. That is to say, recognizing the demon is one thing; it’s something else to take action and conquer it.
AFTER A PROMISING CAREER IN HOCKEY CAME TO AN ABRUPT END, DANIEL YOST NOW ON HIS WAY TO SETTING A 2,100-POUND TOTAL
Shortly after his birth, Nathan was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP), a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, and posture, and was deemed once again, to have little chance of having a “normal” life.
“I was told that walking would be highly unlikely for a person with his form of CP, but I was never satisfied with the prognosis,” he said. “Throughout my childhood, and into my adolescent and teen years, I went through a grueling amount of examinations, surgeries, and physical and occupational therapy. I bounced back and forth between medical devices such as carts, wheelchairs, crutches, and leg braces; learning and relearning how to walk countless times.”
ZAC MCINTOSH REFUSED TO LET BEING BULLIED DEFINE HIM, BECAME NO. 1 RANKED CENTER IN SOUTH CAROLINA
“I was hit from behind and severely damaged my left knee and ankle,” Daniel said. “I partially damaged every ligament in my knee and had a Grade 3 sprain of my Achilles tendon. There I was being told that I have to wear this air cast for months and do months on months of physical therapy. At such a young age, I felt like my dream was gone. All I had wanted until that point was to play hockey.”
RUSSELL HAYES BEAT ADDICTIONS TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL TO BECOME A PERSONAL TRAINER AND MOTIVATE OTHERS TO BECOME THE BEST THEY CAN BE
“The kid began to bend my arm back as far as it could possibly go until he heard a popping noise,” Zac said. “I began to yell, and the boys took off running.”
A family friend was passing by and saw the event happen, but it was too late to intervene. He took Zac home and told his parents what happened.
CHANCE LAWSON RETURNED TO WRESTLING AFTER BEING STRUCK BY A CAR
“We’ve all done things in our past that we aren’t proud of,” he said. “I certainly have a past like that. From 19-years-old to about 21, I was plummeting down the wrong path. I dove into drugs, alcohol and everything in between. I fought depression due to my grandfather passing years earlier, and battled addictions to cough syrup medication as well as marijuana.”
BRANDON LITTLETON PUSHED THROUGH HIS FATHER’S TRAUMATIC DEATH TO CARE FOR HIS MOM AND FAMILY
“My friend yelled at me,” he said. “When I turned around, a car hit me going over 45 mph.”
The next thing Chance remembers is laying on the ground. Everything was moving in slow motion. When he started to come to, pain flooded his entire body.
“I underwent emergency surgery,” he said. “The last memory I have before going under was my wrestling coach telling me I’d be a future state champion. Almost storybook, right?”
DJ HURST WENT FROM BEING ADDICTED TO HEROIN AND WEIGHING 159 POUNDS TO PULLING 750 FROM THE FLOOR
“I needed to run,” he said. “I needed to escape, and I knew my body was ready for me to make that move. My plan was to make a run for the neighbor’s house who was a police officer. I knew he could have helped. Done something to control the situation. But I just sat there with this feeling of absolute fear in my mind, stomach and arms. It paralyzed me.”
TALON BURKE BATTLED THROUGH MULTIPLE DEATHS IN HIS FAMILY FROM DRUGS TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF ADDICTION
“I wasn’t some working guy with a pill habit,” DJ said. “I was the epitome of what you’d think of if you heard the word ‘junkie.’ All the way out there; a daily miserable existence. One day I decided that I was tired of getting my ass handed to me and made a decision to get clean. I didn’t have the luxury of going to a treatment center. I did it myself. No detox meds. No rehab. Just guts and grit.”
DENISE GORONDY-TODERICO WAS HIT BY AN SUV, OVERCAME STROKES, BRAIN INJURY AND ORTHOPEDIC TRAUMAS TO NOW RUN 5KS, LIFT WEIGHTS
“I lived with my foster family for about a year, then my dad regained custody of me and I lived with him for a little bit until my dad and stepmom got a divorce,” Talon said. “My dad wasn’t able to care for me again, so dropped me off at my grandmother’s house, who formally adopted me at age 7. That’s when my dad went to prison on drug charges.”
46% OF SCOTT SMOOT’S BODY WAS COVERED IN THIRD DEGREE BURNS, GOES ON TO WIN MULTIPLE POWERLIFTING COMPETITIONS
“She was struck from behind by an SUV that had crossed the double yellow line and was traveling at over 60 miles per hour,” he said. “The impact flung her body over 50 yards into a local farmer’s field where she was left to die for over an hour. Thankfully, a passing cyclist saw Denise and called for help.”
SAMANTHA TRUBILLA OVERCAME A SEVERE BRAIN INJURY, A COMA AND A 10% CHANCE AT LIVING TO NOW THRIVING
“I rolled as soon as I felt the heat,” Scott said. “I stood up thinking I had eliminated anything burning, and as fate would have it, my pants and shirt were ablaze. The gas was soaked into my pants. I rapidly removed my clothes which was my only alternative. I managed to control my breathing to prevent shock from setting in. My father activated 911 as my grandfather used an extinguisher to put the fire out.”
BROCK KLAHOLD FOUGHT THROUGH DIABETES, A BROKEN ANKLE AND A HERNIATED DISC IN JUST FIVE YEARS
“At the hospital, the doctors explained it to us as if her brain was a jar of glass marbles and someone shook it very hard causing fractures inside all of the marbles,” Danielle said. “They also told us not to Google the injury and stay positive.”
The reason? With this type of injury, there is a less than 10% chance of recovery.
Jacob Hendershot overcame multiple serious injuries at only 18 years of age
“His diabetes was always a battle, often struggling during games because of either highs or lows, but never giving up,” Philip said. “All of Brock's hard work payed off and he was recruited by a number of Division III colleges.”
The challenges were not over for Brock, though. Later in his senior season, he developed back pain but always fought through it. Everyone thought it was due to lack of flexibility from the weight loss he experienced during his trial with diabetes.
Noah Delgado Stepped Away From His Life to Care for His Mother and Grandmother
“My left arm bent inwards, hearing a sickening popping noise as I quickly grabbed my elbow, now back in place as my father and other coaches ran over to me.” Jacob said. “We didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to keep wrestling. The trainer stopped me, telling me to wait and see how it felt. Thank God he did, because in a few hours my arm swelled to twice its size, a large bruise forming at the inside of my elbow as it became stiff.”
Helene Tremblay Went From 300 Pounds to Women's Physique Competitions
“In October of 2017, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Mary said. “His dad works incredibly hard in the oil industry, but that also means he’s gone often. When my daughter was going to start her 12 weeks of chemotherapy, I had planned on taking a leave of absence from work to be with her, but I broke my ankle and had to be bedridden.”
Yesenia Vasquez Competes in Powerlifting Despite Being Blind and Deaf
Helene developed a severe case of depression and anxiety. Eventually, it led to the use of prescription medication.
“It wasn’t until I was about 21 that I fully realized the damage I’d done,” she said. “I was just shy of 300 pounds at 5-4, in a miserable relationship, and was angry and depressed.” I developed a pretty severe case of depression and anxiety which led to the use of prescription medication.”
Tony DeLeo Went From Life Support to Being Back in the Gym
When someone else’s happiness is your happiness; that’s love.
And if you need an unconditional example of it, take Julio Vasquez and his wife, Yesenia.
“I’m writing this for my wife, because I think she is APEMAN STRONG,” Julio said. “She is profoundly deaf and legally blind.”
Tony doesn’t remember much from the accident, but what he does recall is horrifying.
“I was going in and out of consciousness but remember my 13-year-old son crying,” Tony said. “My wife was kneeling beside me. They quickly life-flighted me to the hospital, underwent emergency surgery and I was subsequently put on life support.”