I had the pleasure of meeting an incredible man yesterday, and I want you to meet him too. His name is Cal.
Cal is visiting from Australia, and just reading about his life made my jaw drop and my eyes water. Cal loved racing when he was a kid, and he was quite good at it, too. He was competing in a state level motocross race when he was 12 years old when he had a horrific accident. He suffered a nasty fall from his bike, and then the bike landed on the back of his head, knocking him out instantly.
Cal was airlifted to the hospital, and doctors warned that be might not make it. He was placed in a medically-induced coma for almost two weeks, and nearly died during the first two attempts to bring him out of it. His traumatic brain injury was so severe that his family and friends were told, repeatedly, that he might not survive, and if he did, he’d surely never live any semblance of the live he had. He’d probably never walk or talk again.
But Cal is a fighter, and Cal survived. He came out of the coma, stayed in the hospital for months, and slowly but surely, defied all the doctors’ expectations. It’s been 15 years since the accident, and Cal has pushed through countless forms of therapies and rehabilitation programs, and Cal can talk. Cal can walk. Last night, Cal climbed 55 stories in the Wells Fargo Center stairwell.
Cal, his sister Lainie, and friends Allana and Paul are in Los Angeles for three months so Cal can work with top-notch trainers and therapists. Someone told them about the upcoming Stair Climb for Los Angeles in the US Bank Tower, and Cal was intrigued about the race. They’re continually looking for new physical challenges for Cal, because Cal is continually pushing himself and reaching his goals.
They came to the Wells Fargo Center to check out a skyscraper stairwell. A test drive, so to speak. They connected with my friend Madeleine beforehand, who gave them all sorts of info, and gave me and Alberto a heads up that they’d be coming. Alberto and I met them on the sidewalk before the training began, and we climbed the stairs with Cal and his crew.
It was so inspiring to watch Cal climb. He uses two walking sticks when he’s walking around normally, but he hardly used them in the stairwell, because of the railing. He kept chugging along, refused to take any breaks, and he smiled, cracked jokes and laughed the whole way. He climbed 44 stories in 22 minutes, then insisted on climbing up to the 55th floor – the tippy-top of the building. He had a blast.
The next time I catch myself grumbling in a stairwell, or am unhappy about a workout or some minor setback, I’ll remind myself of Cal. He’s literally done the impossible. He welcomes challenges, and smiles throughout them. He lives in the moment, pushes himself, sets goals, and accomplishes them. He’s an amazing role model!
Keep it up, Cal!
Yesterday’s climb with Cal was my eighth climb in the Wells Fargo Center. Those eight climbs add up to 372 total stories, and over one vertical mile of climbing! Whoa!
Keep it up, David!
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