For all of his adult life, Cory Brown struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism. He’d been in and out of rehab centers and jails since he was 15. For years, he never knew anything other than just staying high.
“I’ve overdosed three times,” he said. “Drank myself to an oblivion on a daily basis. Destroyed my connection with my parents and two brothers, but ultimately they never gave up on me.”
The relentless bullying and harassment Paul subsequently endured intensified after he started wearing his brace. Being beat up in the halls of junior high school was a normal thing, and he became very depressed and introverted.
In March of 2017, he was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes. Over time, this type of diabetes can wreak havoc on major organs in one’s body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Eventually, these complications can be disabling or even life-threatening.
“A car pulled out in front of me and I hit the driver’s side,” he recalls. “I flipped over the car and was laid out in the middle of the street. My right leg got caught under the handle bars and the bone gave way to the impact as I was catapulted off.
In those same seven years, Elliott has gone through two significant back surgeries. He didn’t suffer an injury or have an accident; genetics just dealt him a bad hand. Through a long journey, he realized there is no time to feel sorry for himself.
In a special edition of our LIFTED stories, APEMAN Ellie Rojas shares a heartfelt and emotional poem that highlights the impact powerlifting has had in her life.
“While I was still in the middle of a storm of lawsuits, disappointed family members and disappointment in myself, I decided to channel my rage in a new way. I used the gym as an outlet, a place to kill my old self, and watch my new self come to fruition.”
“By about 5 a.m. it was apparent we needed to get to the hospital,” John added. “The events of that morning are a blur, but as I was hurriedly getting dressed, my wife made one specific request.”
She asked John if he could wear his APEMAN shirt because it would inspire her to be strong through whatever was about to unfold.
Wes has battled depression after all of these tragic events. Lifting, however, gives him a safe place to release his anger, and rejuvenate his spirit.
“Lifting gives me an out, a place where everything is quiet, and all the pain goes into training,” he said.
In an attempt to alleviate the physical and emotional pain, Nicholas went through a tough period of prescription drug abuse. He tried to hide his issues as he pursued a Master’s degree at Norwich and working for the United States Senate doing VA casework.
“Failure has defined my life,” James Teeple said.
Something inside of him is broken and it hasn’t been easy to fix. He grew up surrounded by anger and violence, both inside and outside of his home.
“For the second time in two years, I was left without the use of my legs,” he said. “This time I was told that I might never walk without assistance again. I got better and proved them wrong. While I was healthy, I started lifting again. In 2017, I had just gotten into powerlifting when, for the third time in five years, I couldn’t use my legs.
Taylor was molested for seven years.
First by his own mother, then by her friends.
Sometimes in life, you encounter a situation that is so evil, so incomprehensible that simply living and moving forward seems impossible.
“When I discovered APEMAN, everything changed,” he said. “The psychology of APEMAN changed my life completely. We are not all built the same, but we all bleed red.”
Tylor says the kindness, the determination and drive of being APEMAN STRONG has been the driving force behind continuing to move forward.
Doctors told Brenton’s family that he wouldn’t live past three. That didn’t stop Brenton, though. He still has a huge scar where a tumor was removed that broke his femur.
But miracles do happen, and he’s turning 29-years-old soon.
For Jessica, powerlifting was the remedy.
“Don't ever let the darkness back in until you’re holding that barbell,” she added. “You've got this. Be strong. Channel your rage. Every moment that brought you here is behind you. Look ahead and create your future.”
High school is a hard time in anyone’s life. But throw cancer into the mix? It can be downright hellish. Unfortunately, that’s precisely when Nate was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (stage 2B), a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes.
“It turns out I had multiple herniated discs in my lower back,” Matthew said. “I also had to get part of my neck replaced because of the amount of nerve damage.”
Months and months of intense rehab followed, and that’s when Matthew fell in love with both powerlifting and MMA.
“Two years ago, I started going to the gym and watching my diet,” Brian said. “Since that point, I’ve lost 70 pounds, but still have 20-30 to go. I’m in the best shape of my life, and APEMAN has really inspired me throughout the journey.”
“The whole mentality behind APEMAN is something that I hold dear and channel when I lift,” he said. “It’s amazing to know there is a brand that is sincere, genuine, and greater than popularity and social media likes and shares."