Ross Bennett

Ross Bennett

The Progress Gym ‘Member of the Month’ award has become a highlight of the calendar for me. I’m fully aware that most Progress members have no aspiration to stand on a bodybuilding stage or enter an elite level sporting event. Training, for 95% of people, is about feeling better and staying healthy and I wanted to create something where I could acknowledge these Progress people. I tend to give the award to those that apply themselves, consistently. Those that show determination. To those that seek out help and employ what they have learned. And to those that have overcome adversity that most of us can’t begin to imagine.

This months Progress Gym ‘Member of the Month’ award goes to a friend of mine. Am I biased? I might be, but just bare with me and see if you see my reasoning. This friend of mine I’ve had the pleasure of living with twice- we’ve shared a couple of rented houses over the last few years and spent plenty of time eating together, watching TV and drinking coffee whilst shooting the breeze. When I needed a van, he was there. When he wanted a program writing I was there. When I needed storage he helped me out. When I needed a fire door fixing he put his carpentry skills to good use and got it done.

On March 18th of last year, I got a call from a mutual friend, he said there had been an accident. ‘Accident’ doesn’t seem to begin to do what happened full justice. It’s not possible to go into full detail about the incident as there are still issues to be resolved. However my friend, whilst in stationary traffic, was hit head on by a Lorry. He sustained multiple injuries, including a serious head injury. The chances of him actually surviving were very, very slim and his life hung by a thread. Myself and 3 other friends drove to Bristol that night to visit him, but his condition was so vulnerable that we weren’t even allowed to see him.

As scans and assessments were carried out the list of injuries grew and the situation become more and more fragile.

His resilience, determination and courage over the following days and weeks pulled him through to a marginally more stable condition. It was still several months until we were allowed to go and visit and when I went to see my friend at Frenchay hospital I didn’t really know what to expect. When we walked in, just seeing him alive in his wheelchair, after what he’d been through, was an amazing feeling. I knew he still had a lot of work to do to be able to return to any sort of normality- the reassuring thing was that I could see he was prepared to do it.

My friend has undergone months of physical therapy, speech therapy and much more to be where he is today. He came back to gym in the middle of March this year and I cannot do justice, with mere words, how I felt the first day he managed to walk back into Progress. Seeing him walk, on his own and unaided, back into the gym gave me such a whirlwind of emotions- relief, pride, admiration, but I knew he’d just want to be treated the same- so that’s how it’s been from day1. He enlisted the help of Brad Down, one of the Progress Personal Trainers and together they have kept him moving forward at an impressive rate.

We all have our own start point from which we begin our training. Some are more fortunate than others. Some have situations and events conspire against them and start from a long way back. Be thankful for what you have and don’t let a cold or tiredness hold you back.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that he never complains about the weather, if it’s raining or if it’s cold. He’s just happy to still be walking amongst us. Ross, your courage and determination are staggering. I know with the will power you possess and the effort you give that you’ll continue your road back and continue to see improvements the rest of us will never fully appreciate.

Ross- you inspire me more than you’ll ever know and I’m proud to award you the title of April 2015 Progress Gym Member of the Month.

Thanks to Optimum Nutrition for again supporting the Member of the Month award here.