When I decided I wanted to feature those of you that inspire me, one of the very first people I thought of was Kerim Emre. I connected with Kerim on social media some time ago. His tagline of “I have MS, MS doesn’t have me” was most notable to me because my husband’s step-mom was diagnosed with MS more than 20 years ago. What stood out was not the MS diagnosis, but his determination not to be a victim and to always “fake it til you make it.”
I reached out to Kerim and asked if I could share his story with you and he graciously accepted. I know you’ll find his message empowering and beautiful as I did. Kerim Emre, you are clearly a Badass!
In his words:
My story begins my sophomore year at UCLA (1994). I lost my vision completely and went blind in a matter of about 2 hours. I was diagnosed with Optic Neuritis which eventually led to a diagnosis of MS. After that honestly not much changed, I was still an athlete, I was still around 9% BF, and my life hadn’t changed much.
Fast forward a decade and my business partners and I were the largest media sellers on eBay/Amazon. Life was great. I hadn’t experienced any more MS related issues, I was working out daily, and I had a very active lifestyle.
Suddenly, due to things out of my control I had to shut down the business and I went from being on top of the world, to having the rug pulled from under me. I felt betrayed. I felt depressed. I felt stressed out. I didn’t start drinking or doing drugs, I just buried my feelings in comfort food. I thought about suicide multiple times as things got worse and worse and no end was in sight. During that time my son was born. I had gained over 100 lbs, I stopped weighing myself once I was clear or 300lbs. I just had stopped caring. I took my son to the park and couldn’t keep up with him. I knew that I was one foot in my grave if I didn’t change something and I knew I needed to do it NOW! I still only moved barely and during the market crash we lost our home and were homeless now. We were staying at small hotel room and during that time I started to do P90x on my hands and knees. We had purchased P90x from a garage sale and it had been sitting on top of the TV stand for about a year and we took it with us as we got evicted. I always remembered what my dad to this day always reminds me of, a Goethe quote which ends in, “if hope is lost, all is lost.” I couldn’t walk. I could do more than one or two body weight squats, but I WAS going to do what I had to go get better or fight as best as I could. I needed to be there for my sons, my wife, my family. I was done feeling like a victim. I wanted to be strong again. I wanted to bench press 400 lbs again. I wanted to be 200lbs again. I wanted to be ALIVE again. I have since lost 70 lbs, gotten to the point I can walk, and sometimes even chase/run after my kids. I still have a long way to go as MS has a nasty habit of rearing its ugly head any time I get a fever/cold/or flu, but as I like to say, “I have MS, MS doesn’t have me.” Weightlifting and fitness gave me the one thing I didn’t have for a long time, a hope that I could fight this disease. The best part? That my changes carried over to my family.
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You can follow and connect with Kerim here: