“you are amazing!!!!”
“you go girl!!!”
“so happy for you!!!”
“look at you go!!!"
y’all are too kind. the plethora of congrats, amazings, and look-at-you-go comments, messages, texts, and tweets are just sweet as pie. and trust me, i’m the first to recognize the incredible experiences and opportunities that i’ve been given with my company. it’s truly awe-inspiring, even to me at times, the things i get to go to, see, and do. pinch me, sometimes it doesn’t seem real! but the reason i shout from the social media mountain tops things like “agh…i’m gonna be on The Doctors!!!” is truly more “oh my gosh, how cool is this?!?!” rather than “hey, look at me.” and i mean that from the bottom of my tender little heart. you see, for me i feel so much like everything i get to experience isn’t just for me to enjoy because my friends, my family, and often social media friends i’ve actually never had the chance to hug, have been such a source of strength for me, that i can’t help but want to share the joy. you all get that i’ve put in the blood, sweat, and tears…the 8 years…that it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. you all get that the first person i so desperately want to call when something amazing happens isn’t here on this earth anymore - and you’re tenderhearted in seeing that. you all cheer me on and lift me up more than you will ever (ever) know. because it would be unfair for me to share the lows and not celebrate the highs. it wouldn’t honor God to highlight the struggles, but not celebrate the victories. but in that, i’m finding that my insecurity - actually, my downright fear, is that i should ever be seen as self-serving.
this most recent experience - being on The Doctors - it challenged me and changed me in a very real way. when i got the call from my PR agency about the opportunity, the details were this: 3 million viewers, mention of your company across all social media outlets on the air date, and the opportunity to be featured as a company who gives back. great, sign me up. until i heard the premise behind how and why we were appearing. the segment wasn’t going to be me featured talking about fitbook, or weight loss, or goal setting, or any of that. it wasn’t and isn’t about fitlosophy. or me. the “opportunity” (a term i use very loosely) was to financially support a young woman, jessica crampon west, who had lost both legs and one arm in a tragic fit of domestic violence. the story goes that her uncle, in a drunken rage, threw a pot of hot collard greens on her almost 4 years ago. what progressed from there was her actually dying 3 times on the operating table. pain medication for burn victims often has to be so strong, that the result is losing circulation in your extremities. the only way to save her life was to amputate both legs and her right arm. i could share more details, but i honestly urge you to watch her tell it.
2 days' notice. flight booked. outfit dialed in. nails did. before the show was set to film, i had a briefing with my PR team to learn more about the segment, about how we were going to be involved, and what that looked like. as you will see on the show, jessica, her sweet husband, and three children are buried in over $3 million in medical bills, and The Doctors arranged for her to receive state of the art prosthetic limbs and reconstructive surgery on her breasts, which literally melted off tragically, leaving her feeling less of a woman; not beautiful for her husband. fitlosophy was given the opportunity to pay for her travel expenses to new york to undergo these procedures. my initial response was, “absolutely.” as PR teams do, they guide you on how to maximize the exposure in a positive way - making sure that “fitlosophy” be recognized, not promoted, but mentioned for providing this financial support.
and then i lost it.
i was conflicted. incessantly texting my friends for guidance and spending time in prayer, my heart was torn. this poor woman has literally faced death, lost any semblance of physical independence, and we're supposed to get credit for writing a check? but i realized that i was given the opportunity to help this woman for a reason; we’re blessed to be a blessing. before meeting her, i read articles, watched videos, and learned all i could and in that process i realized i couldn’t not support her. even before meeting, her story put my life in perspective in a whole new way:
"I know that I have a purpose and I know that God hasn't left my side and when you see one set of foot prints, it's when He carries you. I just want the opportunity to wake up and put my feet on the ground."
how could this woman who lost her limbs and who has faced insurmountable odds be so positive in the face of adversity? and then there’s me over here who (like Dr. Travis says on the show) gets cranky when my cup of coffee gets cold.
as i sat there in the live studio audience, i rehearsed in my mind what i would say when the cameras turned to me, hoping that i wouldn’t stumble or fumble my words.
and then they rolled her out on stage.
with a smile that lit up the room.
and as you’ll see when the camera pans to me, i’m a mess. there wasn’t a dry eye in the building. never before have i been so humbled by positivity; touched by a woman’s strength; warmed by a husband’s devotion, or inspired by another’s faith.
my words don’t do the segment justice, so watch it live for yourself. prepare to be moved (to tears) and inspired (to pieces). [click to view]
after the cameras stopped rolling, i had one request: i just want to meet her, to spend a brief moment with her, and to thank her. and i did. we connected. we prayed. we laughed. and we cried.
but, oh me of little faith. i had no idea that the very thing that was presented as an opportunity to do good for someone else actually changed me in more ways than i had ever expected.
thank you jessica for being a shining example of how God can use all things for good.
with all my heart,
p.s. wanna bless jessica + her family as much as her story has blessed us? donate on her gofundme page.