Though Obstacles May Arise, YOU Should Never Give Up
Nearly 10 years ago, music and film enthusiast Alex Vazquez was preparing to take on a new job doing what he loved – working in production. A summer beach celebration transformed his future and would change his life forever. While crossing the street, Alex was struck by a car and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.
Annually, more than 5,300 people are killed due to vehicle-related accidents. “Thank God I did not die,” Alex says. “Many victims end up in comas and die within a year. I was in a coma and know the hardships a recovery can take.”
After spending months away from home at The Shepherd Center – an Atlanta hospital specializing in traumatic brain injuries – Alex returned home to Boca Raton with a newfound appreciation for life and a determination to become stronger than ever before.
Throughout high school, Alex was involved in the musical theater program under the direction of Youfit’s National Director of Group Exercise, Mindy Clarke. Committed to being there for Alex every step of the way, Mindy and Youfit Founder and CEO Rick Berks welcomed Alex into the Youfit family.
Weeks after returning home, Alex was in his local Youfit building up his strength to reach his first goal. Mindy, Rick and the staff at his local Youfit became not only a health club and support system for Alex, but a second home and family.
“All I wanted to do at first was walk,” Alex says. This was no easy feat, but Alex was dedicated and committed to meeting his goal. Day in and day out, he was in the gym, keeping a positive attitude as he toughed out the pain and trusted the process. It proved worth it – less than two years later, Alex was walking again.
“Once I started walking, I wanted to drive. Once I started driving, I wanted to go back to school — so I went back to school.”
Now, Alex is set to graduate in 2017 with a degree in Communications and Entrepreneurship. While pursuing his degree, Alex has also been working full-time in the school system. In his free time, he is an incredibly inspiring motivational speaker — filling up theaters, gyms, middle schools, high schools and colleges, sometimes speaking on the importance of safe driving and the importance of perseverance.
“To some giving up seems like the only option,” Alex says. “If you were to ask an educator, family member or patient of a neurological disorder to list the top five most difficult things about taking on challenges, wondering always makes the list. Perhaps the hardest parts of overcoming any obstacle are the ‘what ifs’ and the wonder – What if it’s too hard? I wonder if this will work. What if I fail?” Alex’s thoughts? “What if it does work, what if you DO succeed? Don’t ever give up because you can move past this circumstance.” In trying times, Alex leans on one of his favorite mantras from Bob Marley: ‘Every little thing gonna be alright.’
Aside from using his future goals as encouragement, Alex attributes much of his motivation to the people around him. Having a solid support system is a key factor in any trial or tribulation. Alex found firsthand that if you have the support of your family and loved ones, your community is going to join in. No matter your journey, Youfit is here for YOU.
Alex’s next step? You can catch him increasing his speed on the treadmill in between speaking engagements, while also writing a book that he hopes will reach many with his motto: Never Give Up.