FORT MYERS, Fla. — To be part of this competition, you have to be athletic, strong and determined.
That’s a common mindset amongst participants at the Adaptive Fitness Challenge.
Athletes from around our area gathered at Around the Clock Fitness off of Boyscout Drive in Fort Myers to compete in various, timed event.
Like all of us, each athlete has a story…including Radley Gillis.
“About two years ago, I got in a motorcycle accident. Lost control of my back tire, went in the guardrail and cut my legs off on impact”, Gillis told FOX 4.
After his accident, the state champion high school wrestler spent two months in the hospital.
“I had to convince myself to push through.”
That determination lead Radley to re-envision his inner athlete.
Marilyn and Evyn Zosia run “I Am Adaptive”.
That South Florida nonprofit travels to gyms and sets up these challenges. They encourage athleticism for everyone, and discouraged the use of words like “disabled”.
Marilyn knows first-hand how physical challenges can impact life.
She suffered a brain injury, which lead to memory loss.
She says the organization gives her a chance to lift that weight off of others.
“I didn’t want other people to have to go through that”, Zosia says.
“It’s needed for them to empower them, and become happy healthy people in our society.”
Radley says that encouragement is contagious.
“When you have other people pushing themselves to be the best that they can be, it just bring it out of you. It makes you want to do that.”
Proceeds from Saturday’s event help the Center for Independent Living Gulfcoast. They actually transport some of the athletes you just saw to and from the gym every Wednesday. They cover memberships, and registration for the challenge.
As for Radley, he went onto to become the president of his fraternity, a graduate from the University of Central Florida and recently completed his entrance exam for law school.