Lost health but not athleticism, training for Paralympics

"I don't think there are limits. I think it’s taking what your abilities are and figuring out how to best use them."

Brandon Holiday had a lot of abilities but now he’s facing a serious illness.

FOX 29’s Bill Anderson met up with Holiday to see firsthand how he’s working towards his dream, For Goodness Sake.

Bill said there was a multi-time medalist and aspiring Olympian training at Sweat Fitness in Conshohocken, and that's exciting -- but this story is truly inspiring when you see Brandon Holiday.

He met Brandon and his service dog, Dyson, and Brandon explained he was always active -- a college athlete and then police officer -- but his diagnosis with Lupus and several blood clots led to one of the scarier obstacles any athlete could face.

"Ultimately I had to get a below-knee amputation.  And that's where things really changed during that time because I said `What's next?’"

What happened next was a brief period of depression, but a trip to an event for athletes with physical disabilities turned that all around.

"I got to see other people who had lost limbs achieve great things,” Brandon explained, “so that re-motivated me to say, ‘What am I gonna do?’"

And he was gonna do pretty much anything put in front of him!

"I competed in martial arts, where I won a bronze medal in a Pancrase Tournament, and then I started doing recreational kayaking through the Extraordinary Games and won a silver medal, then in 2012 they announced sprint kayaking was gonna be a Paralympic event."

Competing in the Paralympics gave Brandon a new dream, his next challenge. Unfortunately, he has to train for 2020 because he suffered another medical setback on his previous road to the Paralympics.

"While I was down there I had my 10th heart attack, so from 1993-2012 I had 10 heart attacks," he explained.

And he's still undeterred. He trains with his four-legged sidekick Dyson by his side virtually every day. Like with so many of his previous challenges, Brandon is committed to outworking his obstacles.

"I'll probably do half an hour on the treadmill and 45 minutes on the elliptical,” he said, surprising Bill.

Brandon's attitude has rubbed off on his gym family, They continue to support his efforts.

To compete for an Olympic spot, Brandon needs additional equipment and the people who train alongside Brandon and Dyson are helping their friend raise that money.

"Do it for Dyson's dad. It’s our fitness fundraiser,” said Erin Murphy of Sweat Fitness. “It’s three hours, so you can do the whole thing and try to challenge yourself or you can jump in and out. It’s a suggested $15 donation to join. You can do more you can do less, whatever feels right to you."

Brandon has faced down numerous challenges and continues to push forward because he realizes his journey is not just significant to him.

"I may not get to that level of being a podium athlete and attending the Paralympics, but I've given my effort. And hopefully that will help others to say as long as I've done my best, I can't be upset with the end result because I've come this far."

Click here for Sweat Fitness in Conshohocken’s website, and find out how you can help.

Brandon keeps going and his peers continue to support him, For Goodness Sake.

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