Brandon Beack, a teenager from Cape Town, South Africa, was well on his way to achieving his dream of competing in gymnastics at the Olympics. He was talented, dedicated and ready to take on the world.
As a promising and driven gymnast, dancer, student and musician, this young man had his sights set on going to the Olympics. He faced a lot of doubt in his early career as a gymnast, as many told him he wasn’t strong enough to perform at the highest level.
But that didn’t stop him. In fact, it lit a fire under him that pushed him to work even harder to go after what he wanted.
But everything changed in August 2012.
Video courtesy of YouTube and Alexandria Christos
“I had my whole life set out, and yeah, it kind of went belly up. It was a normal, average day. I went up, got to school, went to gymnastics. I was a little bit off, because of the fact that I was a bit fatigued. I was training, and on the parallel bars I just had a lapse of concentration while I was doing my dismount.”
He compressed his 6th and 7th vertebra. This tragic accident paralyzed Brandon from the chest down. Left devastated and unable to walk, the prognosis doctors gave him was grim. They told him and his supportive family that he would never walk again.
But Brandon, not being one to shy away from adversity, embraced the biggest challenge of his entire life with a determined attitude, despite the difficult road ahead.
Brandon wants to walk again. And he’s not stopping until he does.
You’ll find him in the rehab room, the pool, the gym and on the basketball court doing everything in his power to regain control over his body. With help from specialists and trainers, he is determined to regain his strength and defy the odds by learning to walk again.
He doesn’t play the victim, wallowing in self-pity over this tragic accident that happened in his life. Instead, he does what’s within his control to regain his life and he fights back. How inspiring is that? How easy would it be to lose yourself in depression, in anger and in frustration after something like this happens?
But that’s just not Brandon’s style.
“Just because I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit around and do nothing. I’m still as able as an able person.”
His mother knows that her son’s recovery goes beyond surpassing his own physical limitations in his fight to walk again.
“Brandon is going to make a difference in this world. Brandon is determined to show the world, and everybody else, that giving up is not an option.”
“My overall goal is still to walk again. I will never stop training for that. Because I believe with all certainty that I’m going to walk again.”
After watching the video above and hearing Brandon’s story, I too believe he will walk again. This story is especially close to my heart, as my mother is from South Africa. It’s a place full of wonderful, inspiring people like Brandon who refuse to let adversity get the best of them.
And from the perspective of a new mother, I can only imagine what Brandon’s parents have gone through watching their son face these kind of physical and mental obstacles. If my 3-month old son Brayden faced such hardship, I too would be devastated.
But here’s what I admire – both Brandon and his family have turned the sorrow, the anger, the shock and disbelief into positive fuel that moves them toward their goal: seeing their amazing son walk again.
That’s what finding perspective is all about. Making the active choice to find a new way to look at a negative situation. And inspiring countless others in South Africa – and around the world – to do the same in their daily lives when they encounter an obstacle in their path.