Isn’t it amazing how one person can change your life? Not because there was something wrong or because you needed to; you’ve just subconsciously make a decision to better yourself because of them.
These are the people whom you look forward to speaking to everyday. They can make your day with a simple “Hello.” They brighten up your day just by being at your side. They have the power to alter the way you think because you’re able to see things from their perspective as well as your own. Just by spending time with someone, you tend to pick up their tendencies, their mannerisms and their values without realizing it. It’s so nice to have that one person who takes the time to care about you, to ask about your day, and to worry about you.
You could meet this person anywhere at any time. You just have to be patient and open to those around you. You could meet them at your local gym, at the supermarket, while walking your dog, or you might even roll down your window to talk to them while stuck in a traffic jam. You could meet them absolutely anywhere—just don’t give up hope!
However, what if you never met the person physically? Can a person online via a chat room, social media site, email, or even a game have the same type of impact on someone? There are a number of communities online that offer help and support to individuals for endless amounts of problems and situations, from drug abuse to being new parents.
But what about something as simple as a game application on your phone? One that chooses your opponent for you from all the thousands or millions of users. What are the odds that a game would match you with the person who has the ability to change you and your life for the better? Pretty slim right? Probably so small, it’s not worth considering?
Well let me introduce Brian Flemming and Jackie Eastham, who met on a popular iPhone app.
Draw Something is a very popular and simplistic game, similar to Pictionary. You simply get an item to draw for your opponent to guess as quickly as possible. At the end of the game you have the option to write comments to one another. You can also communicate via writing words instead of images. This ability to communicate saved Brian’s life.
Brian Flemming was morbidly obese, depressed and was an alcoholic. Brian would eat fast food every day and drink a fifth of vodka mixed with a litre of soda every night. He had dropped out of college, and at the age of 30, he would spend endless hours playing games and distract himself from his depression by overeating and drinking away his problems. This type of lifestyle would have most definitely lead to Brian’s death, had it not been for Jackie Eastham. He never would have imagined that she could save him from his 625lbs depressing life.
Jackie Eastham is 20 years older than Brian and suffers from a condition called Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy. This is a form of muscular dystrophy which generally weakens muscles and causes muscle wasting in the hands, feet, face and neck, but can spread to other parts of the body. Jackie lives a very conscious, healthy lifestyle because of her condition and could easily tell that Brian was wasting his life and seriously damaging his body and his long-term health.
Brian confided in Jackie about his weight, his depression and his drinking problems. Jackie soon inspired him to stop drinking. He lost 100lbs from that alone in the first month. From here he decided to start eating healthy and exercising. Jackie, with her experience and wisdom, was able to coach Brian and encourage him every step of the way.
Almost a year after they met on Draw Something, Brian had lost 400lbs, got a new job, was in therapy, and was training for his first marathon.
Brian, who lives in America, traveled to Paris to finally meet Jackie, who he calls his champion. While in Paris, they climbed the Eiffel Tower together. Brian has said on his blog (which describes his whole journey), that “Jackie is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I feel that she saved my life, even though she would never take credit.”
From Brian and Jackie’s inspirational story, we can learn that it’s never too late to change your own life or help someone else change theirs for the better. You’re never too far away to make a difference.