How’s this for inspiration?
My name is Frankie LaMacchia. I was involved in a motorcycle accident 12 years ago on broad and federal streets in south Philadelphia. This devastating moment left me paralyzed from just below the chest down. The doctors told me that 3 things saved my life. First was the fact that I was wearing a helmet. Second was because I was a non smoker. And third, had to do with me being rather healthy and in shape! Please understand, that at that moment, those 3 things allowed my life to go on. It is the last of the three (my overall level of fitness) that has been my quest ever since that day on broad street. I vowed to dedicate any time I could to health and fitness!
Ever since I was a young teen, fitness has been an important part of my life. Now that I’m disabled, that hasn’t changed one bit. Nowadays, my dedication and new-found mission take me to the gym 5 days a week, all while maintaining a healthy and strict diet. It has also led me to being a spokesperson for various local health and wellness organizations. You see, being actively fit is an important part of dealing with and finally overcoming a disability. Remember, just because you may have a disability, it does NOT mean you are out of the game. It just means that you have to be more patient and work a little harder than those who are able-bodied. I mean I’m paralyzed from the waist down, and have made the gym my second home practically. So I wonder what some of the excuses are out there from people who say that don’t have a minute to work out.
The choice to live a healthy lifestyle is the greatest choice a person can make. Besides making you feel fantastic, it also helps reduce stress and maintain your body weight. Maintaining your body weight may be even harder than going to the gym. This requires that you eat healthy foods and maintain an overall strict diet. This way of eating is a key factor to prevent you from being overweight. Another major role player in living a happy/ healthy life is staying motivated. You have to motivate yourself to want to be strong, be lean, have great looking muscles, and have that overall glow and edge that only daily dedication in the gym can deliver. Seeing results and feeling amazing are what motivates me. I see others who look great and I tell myself, if they can look that good, so can I! That’s what triggers my motivation and commitment.
People with disabilities have many challenges. But these challenges should never prevent anyone from living a fit and healthy lifestyle. If anything it should motivate them to stop being depressed and stop making excuses. We need to work harder and think better. And, for those who don’t have any physical challenges, I urge you take the road of being active and fit. This lifestyle will change the lives of everyone. I know it changed mine… Wait, it SAVED mine!
Frankie is one of PHW’s newest contributors. He works for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as an IT consultant. He is a committee man for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. He has a disability. He is super fit. He’s an absolute inspiration. And he’s just a cool guy.
Be sure to check out his column in next months PHW issue!