Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fight till the End - Hoffy's Story

I’ve written before about my amazing friend Julie Hoffmann.  You can read the post I did about her incredible act of courage & bravery during the 2012 Hoffy’s Burpee Challenge here.
Since then she has kicked up the bravery and courage by several hundred notches. As a result of her illness she had prior to the Burpee Challenge she is now left with a ‘post viral chronic fatigue’ or as Julie calls it the ‘Alien’.  She has suffered numerous infections since April which each time leave her weak & debilitated, but the hardest part has been the chronic fatigue symptoms.  From the extreme exhaustion to deeply aching joints and muscles, there is no respite. Some days are ok, and others you simply cannot move. Even thinking requires too much strength.
Because of her character she has largely battled through the ups & downs of this condition alone, apart from family and a few close friends no one knew how hard things were and how unwell she was.  She rarely spoke about it because she didn’t want people to think she was lazy or had just given up training.  As one of those who knew her full story I assured her it was not the case, and I knew that people would not think that.  She has finally made the details of her condition public and her quest to ‘kick the Alien’s arse’ is documented through her Facebook account.
Throughout this she has continued to run her business, Intensity Boot Camps, providing support & inspiration to all who attend. She still tirelessly is planning for the 2013 edition of the Burpee Challenge, and as well, is a mum, wife & support to those she cares about.  Hoffy is great at putting everyone else first, and herself last.
This morning I was just blown away and moved to tears by what she managed to do.  She has been suffering badly the last couple of days, movement was hard and she was exhausted.  Every day we exchange a good morning text & check in.  I know for me during the first half of this year as I was working my way through my own stuff,  those messages & check ins meant the world to me, and I am glad we still do that, because now it’s my chance to see how she is.  This morning she replied saying she couldn’t move and had no idea how she would get through her day. 
In true Hoffy style she sent a message saying, it’s not laziness, but that she physically could not move.  I reassured her I knew it wasn’t lazy. She is the least lazy person I know. She eventually got up, had to sit on the floor as she showered and then had to sit to even get dressed. Where was she heading? She had a 1:1 session with her trainer Tommy.
Anyone else would have just stayed where they lay. But she has such a determination to not let the ‘Alien’ win, not to beat her down, to give up. Even if she got there and could do next to nothing she was still going to go.  This is a woman who not that long ago would spend a day training and working towards her goals. Who would come back for more because she knew she was better than her current position.  It’s demoralising for her to walk into the gym and at times be able to do the barest fraction of what she could do. But she still turns up and fights on.
Now before the chorus of ‘she’s stupid’ & ‘she should rest’ kick in. Let me qualify that her resulting training is under the supervision of her doctors and within the parameter of what they allow. She is doing exactly as they tell her.  All the medicines and drugs have done little to improve the situation, so now she’s doing what she does best – fighting it head on.
On her way to training Hoffy messaged me and told me that she doesn’t do ‘sooking’ but had sooked all the way there. She wanted to push Tommy’s van today and prove to herself that this was just a speed bump in the road.  She used to push that fully loaded van up steep hills and do it again and again. That van is symbolic for her for a lot of things.  So that was her goal.  I wrote back I said that she was the bravest person I knew. And she is.
After the session I got a message with this photo and the words ‘Didn’t go far but did a little bit’

Hoffy’s little bit? Approx 50m. I have to admit I was moved to tears when I saw that message and comprehended what she had done. Considering a couple of hours ago she couldn’t even stand up in the shower, yet through sheer force of will, or stubbornness she has pushed that van 50m, along with the rest of her session.
Who does that? Who keeps getting kicked time & time again, yet continues to get up and fight? There is only one person I know.  Her courage and bravery & sheer fight just continue to astound and inspire me.  I sent her a message telling her she was amazing, her reply was ‘not yet – just not ready to quit’. And that sums her up
I hear people all the time making excuse after excuse for their life or their lack of results. Bemoaning not having lost weight, when they know they haven’t done the things required to enable that to happen. Looking for the quick fix or solution to what ails them.  I’ve been there and I’ve done it in the past. That day in April when I saw her fight through those 959 burpees changed my attitude to life and the way I approached challenges.  I don’t look for the easy option, my core instinct now is to stand up and fight for what I want.
And now today I find through a stream of simple messages my perception has once again been altered. To see what she has done today once again blows me away. It is inspiring. I see so many people trying to manufacture inspiration, they want to be held up by the masses and seen as some sort of last hope. I know this isn’t what Julie wants; she’s never cared about the attention. For her it’s imply been a matter of doing what has to be done, no matter what. This is real, this is hard, and it takes courage & bravery. It’s not manufactured.  In fact had I not written about it today then no one would see this side of her story. 
Julie rarely seeks attention for her own validation. Her passion and drive comes from raising as much money as she can for Heartkids through the Burpee Challenge.  She also focuses her attention on helping every single person that steps onto her boot camp arena on being the best they can be.
Today once again I find myself grateful that I have someone like Julie in my life as my good friend. She continues to inspire me and support me as I try to become all that I can be. Not through manufactured quotes but by simply being her and doing what has to be done. 
The tattoo she had on her neck in April was in someways prophetic of the struggle that lay ahead and what she would need to do to overcome it – ‘Fight till the End’.  And that is exactly what she is doing every single day.
Keep fighting Hoffy.

1 comment:

  1. An amazing woman. Wishing her the biggest " Sigourney" so she can kick that Aliens' butt.