In life, so many variables can easily prevent someone from reaching their goal. However, for Kurt Beach, a man with muscular dystrophy, and Mike Fortress, a below-knee amputee, all they need is each other to defy the odds.
Diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, doctors told Beach that he wouldn’t be able to walk by age 35. Now he has surpassed that mark by a decade, and he has two triathlons and a 75-mile Bike to the Bay finish under his belt. Currently, he’s preparing for his next set of races.
Beach’s strength and motivation have been the driving force behind Fortress’s success. He has placed in the top 10 in two national strongman competitions. But a blood clot in his leg—discovered while he was training for his next competition—changed his life.
Fortress underwent three surgeries—the first two aimed to restore the blood flow to his leg, while the third in November ended up being a foot amputation.
Weeks after the amputation, Fortress was back in the gym, albeit in a wheelchair. He was motivated to return to his routine as he didn’t feel comfortable not doing anything just because he lost his leg.
The inspiration roles have reversed. Fortress’s resilience motivates Beach to go the extra mile. Both men are living proof that being a strong man also requires a lot of mental strength. Once you have that, the body follows.
In an interview with NBC24, Fortress said that it was unfortunate that he only realized the extent of his mental strength through his experience. He also said that this experience, though painful, taught him that anyone could be as strong as he is; anyone is capable of defeating and silencing the demons that hold them back.
As of publication, both men are training to prepare for their upcoming competitions and races. And both vowed to continue conquering various challenges to prove to the world that anyone can be as strong as they are, no matter the setbacks life throws their way.