Hope RX’D – BY KELLY GRAHAM
My story is one of never giving up, of starting over, and of making the best out of what life hands you.
In 2013 I was ranked 1st in Canada and captured 10th in the world in my masters women’s CrossFit category. In 2014, I was ranked 1st in Canada and 7th in the world and at age 50, I was heading back to the CrossFit Games in Carson, California. “The Games” are a week long event to find the fittest on earth. During this week, every aspect of a person’s fitness is tested in a series of gruelling competitive events.
Just weeks before this world class event, I suffered two serious disc injuries in my cervical spine. It was very clear that I would not be competing in the Games. I was told by the attending doctor to no longer think of myself as an elite athlete and to re-think my involvement in athletics in general. In an instant, everything I worked so hard for was gone. Not only was I in pain and exhausted, but I was also so disappointed. I would remind myself that there were so many people worse off than me, and that having a healthy, happy family was the most important thing, but I still needed to work through a lot of emotions.
A friend of mine brought me the book the Success Principles by Jack Canfield and it was this book that inspired me to face my injury in a more positive light. I realized even though I had no control over my injury, I still had control over how I reacted to it. I decided to create a book to help others who are facing adversity and also to just inspire everyone to live life in a positive way. The CrossFit community is a very close and a very supportive environment. Every box has at least one great story of a member turning their life around or managing physical or mental illness with the help of the community and the programming. I began this journey a few months after my injury and have used my recovery time to create Hope RX’D. After a 14 month quest in search of stories and working with the story authors, I had enough to fill a book. I hired an independent publisher and my book was published in September, 2015.
I have people telling me the book has really helped them and many say they re-read certain stories or paragraphs when they need some inspiration. Even the story authors themselves have communicated how therapeutic it was for them to write out their accounts knowing others could gain strength from it. This makes everything so worthwhile. What I am finding is that Hope RX’D has opened my eyes to the world around me. I have learnt so much though this process about gratitude, patience, and community.
I have progressed from not being able to exercise at all, to riding a stationary bike with legs only; to planking; air squats; push ups and very slowly over the last year and a half, I have re-introduced most CrossFit movements. My recovery is not over and I will likely never have a healthy spine and full strength again. My goal still remains to return to the CrossFit Games. If I don’t, I know it will be okay, I am finding so much fulfillment in this very unexpected gift called “Hope RX’D”.
For more information about Kelly and her book or to purchase Hope RX’D visit her website: www.hoperxd.com