D Anthony Evans Story Transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] Facing death showed me how to live. I wasn't living before. I was just existing, getting through the days, going through motions. I wasn't living.
My disease is over 84% of my body. I train to live. In my mindset, if I don't train, I die.
He always says that facing death taught him how to live life. So being on this journey with him, you realize what every day means. You realize what every breath means.
I was diagnosed at six with neurofibromatosis, which is a rare neurological disorder that causes tumors to form on your peripheral nerves without notice. So it feels like bees are stinging you all day, every day.
My life was about basketball and my mother. I didn't really care about anything else. I got up every morning to see my mother’s smile and to have a shot to play or practice some basketball.
By the time I got halfway through high school, I had a cantaloupe-sized tumor in my thigh. I had to forfeit my spot on the team. And it crushed me. Four weeks later, I lost my mother.
Things had gotten out of control. But I'm ignoring my disease, ignoring it like it's not there. And the thing is, I knew something was going to happen. I felt my body changing.
They removed 225 tumors. I had seven back-to-back nine-hour operations. That should have killed me in itself. In that hospitalization, my roommate was a very healthy gentleman. And he would go train at rec every day. And he began to ask me to come down with him. He explained to me about nutrition in his way. And he said, man, it's as simple as this, we beat the muscle up, we feed it, it comes back bigger. I've been 155 pounds my entire life. I was up to 215 in there.
Met master vegan chef David Choi. The day I meet him--
It's called green slime.
--is my last day of meat and chicken. He was at my house that next Sunday with 21 plant-based meals. And he taught me how to eat to live and eat for fuel, not for temporary stimulation in my brain.
I couldn't get past the fact that he was so positive.
Being around him just filled me with positivity. Someone that had gone through so much-- he told me he was given months to live, months.
Maya's doing amazing.
We started talking from there. And then he just opened up about his life and his fight. I thought to myself, why not have him share his story. The best I could do was go--
Let's go upstairs.
--was just have him speak to the trainers on staff, because it was the first time that he had ever really shared that story. It was great. There were tears, hugs. And that was five, six years ago.
Squeeze everything you can out of every moment.
And how powerful he is when he speaks now, it's amazing. It fills you with goosebumps.
I'm doing well. Yourself?
My life is about service before self--
I'm doing well.
--helping others. I know I'm here on borrowed time. I understand that. I'm not here for me, at all. I lived an amazing life.
Getting through this progression of revitalizing his body through this fitness and the club, living 60 days, 30 days at a time, and being able to spread this message and give people hope. I'm very proud of him. He makes all of this look very easy, and it's not.
I knew my Life Time family had been rooting for me. So the trainers, the staff, and all of the members watched me literally come within inches of death, through that time, have all become a part of my family. They allow me to train and not just sit at home and rot. And I wouldn't be alive without them.