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What inspires you? Is it people doing something they thought they could never do? Is it something that has never been done before? Is it overcoming odds? Making a comeback that no one ever thought was possible? Is it achieving a goal you or no one thought was ever going to happen?

There is a lot that inspires me. In fact, I am a huge sucker for inspirational stories, especially involving sports and weight loss. I love them. They motivate me, get me excited, and give me hope. They prove that as one of my favorite Adidas advertisements states “Impossible is Nothing.” Goosebumps.

Everyone loves a feel good story. They show the good in the world and fuel positivity. And what’s not to like about that?

This morning as I was scrolling my Facebook feed I came across one of those “feel good” stories from ESPN. The story of high school senior Andrew Grow. He is an 18-year-old with Down Syndrome who has been the manager of the basketball team for the past couple years. On their senior night, he was given the opportunity to finally get in a game. The kid knocked down four three pointers (including a buzzer beater). Yeeesssss! Of course it gave me goosebumps and made me teary eyed. It was a perfect little Sunday feel good story. I love this shit.

Seeing this story this morning also reminded me of three of my favorite, tear-inducing videos that are MUST-sees. None of them are super new, but they are ones that I have viewed again recently and still make me emotional. I can watch them over and over again and still be amazed.  Warning: You may want some Kleenex. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. Arthur’s inspirational transformation. Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years. He was was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own again. Being overweight and physically unable to do many of the things he use to be able to do, Arthur slipped into depression. One day he finally decided he wanted and deserved better for himself. He began practicing yoga. Day by day, week by week, and month by month he got stronger and better. It was no longer impossible.

2. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick. Dick and Rick Hoyt are father and son. They complete in marathons and triathlons together. (Over 1000!!) They have even done some Ironman’s. Here’s the catch though: Rick has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. He is physically incapabable of competing in these events himself. As if these races aren’t hard enough, for all these, Dick pulls Rick in a special boat as they swim, carries him in a special seat in the front of a bicycle for the bike portion, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run. Pretty spectacular.

This all started with a 5-mile run Dick took with Rick many years ago. It was a time for father and son to spend time together and Rick confided in Dick that when he “runs” with his father, he does not feel handicapped. Even though Dick didn’t consider himself a runner per sé, it was all he needed to hear to keep at it with his son. These two have grown so close over the years and have inspired countless people with their story. Whenever I hear people say that running a marathon is impossible, I just think of this story and how if Dick Hoyt can do this with his son, anyone can. Impossible is nothing.

A little something extra: There is also this article online about Iram Leon, a 32-year-old man with terminal brain cancer who just ran AND won a marathon pushing his six year old daughter in a rolling stroller. Truly amazing. He was quoted saying “people shouldn’t wait to live until they’re told they’re dying. Go home and hug somebody and don’t wait to be told you have a disease that’s going to kill you. I ran my entire life and I was dumb enough to wait until I was told I was dying before I ran with my daughter.” Um…Kleenex. Stat. What an amazing story and a reminder how precious life is and to get out there and do what you love with those you love.  Iram is only a year older than me and just reminds me that life needs to be lived to the fullest because you just never know what can happen. Hopefully this story will end with a happy ending and Iram will beat the odds and beat this cancer.

3. Jason McElwain. This story, from 2006, immediately had me from the get-go. Jason, a senior in high school autism, was the manager for his high school basketball team. Everyone on the team, including the coaches knew about and appreciated his love for the game.  The last home game of the season, Jason’s coach had him suit up in uniform and with four minutes left in the game, he put Jason in. Although nervous (as evidenced by his first two misses), his teammates continued to try to get Jason involved in the game and get him the ball. After that, it was “lights out.” Jason hit three after three after three and ended up with 20 points in the game. As the final buzzer sounded, the crowd rushed the court and Jason and celebrated. The team, student body, and town were all so supportive of this young man and his love for the game of basketball. His dream of playing and being the star in a high school basketball game was no longer impossible, and was now a reality.

Dry eye in the house? Or maybe I am just a huge wuss. But I do love every second of these. After seeing these, how can you not be inspired? These stories are all different, yet all amazing in their own unique ways. They are proof, that we should never place limits on what we are capable of doing. How your love and desire for something is never unreachable. How the body is an amazing machine and can really do anything you put your mind to. We often do not know our own potential, but when you dig deep down, you never know what you will find. Impossible is nothing. So freaking powerful.

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