Imagine this.

You’re 11-years-old. Sixth grade. 

One night, you come home complaining of a bad, excruciating headache. The next morning, you can’t see at all. 

After a visit to the eye doctor and a recommendation of a life-flight to the hospital, you discover your entire life had changed in that moment. 

That’s what APEMAN Richard Bowen went through. 

“I was admitted immediately,” Bowen said. “MRI and spinal taps were my life for the next four weeks. On bed rest I developed an affection and almost died from dehydration. After 14 hours of trying to get an IV in me they successfully got one in my foot. For the next two weeks I was in recovery.”

He was diagnosed with Pseudotumor, a rare disease with under 200,000 cases each year. At its core, Pseudotumor is a brain condition that essentially causes the same symptoms as a brain tumor – headaches, nausea, vision problems, dizziness.

The crazy part? It’s not a tumor. 

“About two weeks after successful recovery I was released from the hospital but was put on medicine that restricted me from any activities,” he said. “I was forced to lose weight. The only other option was to get a shunt from my brain to my bladder. Every morning before school for the next three months I would run on the treadmill. I lost the weight, beat Pseudotumor, and paved my path to fitness.”

Richard started competing in powerlifting in high school and still loves it. He credits the fear of Pseudotumor returning, the inspirational stories of APEMAN, and his family as the catalysts to becoming healthier and more active. 

“My family always backed me up with everything I have ever done,” he said. “If I had any advice to someone going through a tough time like I did, I would just tell them to keep pushing always; no matter how rough it gets, keep working because only greatness awaits in the end. 

“I promise you that.”