I only met GJ a couple of years ago. I will tell you from those few short times, I met a man who had it all together. I’ll never forget when I flew up for the first StacheStrong event. The next morning, I was walking around Long Island City looking for my train (color not a number according to GJ). I’m from Charlotte, NC and we don’t really do public transportation and to say I was lost was an understatement. He noticed me meandering around and asked what I was up to. I said “I need to get from here to Penn Station to get to the Newark airport”. He educated me on the color not a number train New York lingo, pointed me in the right direction and off we went in our separate directions. As I rode the train back, I thought I couldn’t believe he was going to work. We had literally just had an event supporting his non profit dedicated to the research and cure of his horrible disease. But that’s who GJ was, he didn’t let anything give him an excuse or interruption. He was going to work. Over the course of GJ’s fight it honestly was incredible to watch his mentality through it all.
I read a book by David Goggins called “Can’t Hurt Me”. GJ and Goggins are in the same boat when it comes to mental fortitude. The cliff notes version of the book is that each of us have an enormous power trapped inside our minds. It’s usually governed by our bodies and will power and those two things limit our mind’s ability. But if you can tap into that fortitude and mentality then nothing can truly hurt you. The things you can do in this world are limitless. GJ could have co-authored that book. He made a decision that GBM was not going to change him, nor define him. I think it’s easy to think we can all do the same thing but I can personally tell you, there are days when I can barely get up and get the motivation to go for a run. Not because I physically can’t, but because I am still working on my personal mentality. GJ was running the same days he had treatment or going to rehab and I complain when I have to mow the grass after work… I think we all take for granted these incredible people when we come across them. GJ was one of them.
That’s why I am StacheStrong and that’s why I wake up and try to live like he did. Because the world needs more GJ’s and I’m just honored to have shared some time with him.