Being diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor is not something anyone wants to hear, let alone a 21-year-old young adult living his dream. But, in March of 2010, I experienced this first hand after a new trick attempt had gone wrong.
Three years earlier, at the age of 17, I made the move to Greenville, NC in pursuit of this childhood dream of mine to ride BMX professionally. I was living as a professional athlete who would ride, train, and compete with and against my heroes, like Dave Mirra, in X-Games and other various contests around the world when I fell and hit my head one-day training.
Little did I know on that day my life would change forever. That crash would lead to a lifesaving MRI that revealed the mass taking up the left side of my brain. It was a complete shock, but at the same time made sense due to the symptoms I was experiencing that were previously ignored by doctors. Requests for MRIs were denied and instead I was continuously instructed to take pain meds when I got a headache or a migraine. It was just something I was told I would have to live with as a normal part of my regular day-to-day life. If it weren't for that crash and MRI, I would not be here today.
Since then, as well as being re-diagnosed in 2012 with two new tumors and in 2017 with two additional tumors, I have become very passionate about the importance of holistic health and nutrition, fostering a positive mindset, not giving up when times get tough and supporting others. I have learned that many of my typical eating and lifestyle habits back then were just fueling the disease. It is now my mission to share with others the significance of the power to choose what we put into our bodies and the importance of the thoughts we have, our right to medical imaging, and the treatment options out there that are not as well-known as they should be.
My heart has always been in BMX as it’s served me in so many ways. From showing me the world and all the places I learned about in school, to something negative like a crash saving my life. BMX has taught me so much about myself, healthy life choices, and what really matters in life. That is why I have partnered with ARF in an effort to share all the wonderful things I have learned about life and health through BMX and my experiences. We will spread our message with non-profit BMX stunt shows for hospitals around the world to support those in need with brain tumors, injuries, and other disorders through BMX, education, and entertainment.
I am grateful and fortunate to be alive and healthier than ever today, and I want to share my passions to help support those in need. ARF was there for me in a time of need, and we are partnering together to provide that same support for others and share the importance of a healthy lifestyle, medical imaging, and treatment options for brain disorders. We will be sharing more about the project soon so stay tuned.
Until then, do what you love, always stay positive, and don’t be afraid to take a risk. You never know what you may learn and who you may inspire.