Disabled mom discovers 'Wheelin Weightloss' - KMSP-TV

Disabled mom discovers 'Wheelin Weightloss'

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38-year old Jamie Goodwin wears many hats. She's a pastor's wife, a mother, a blogger, and she's created a Facebook page with 1,700 followers. Now she's trying on a new role: becoming an athlete.

These days, she doesn't mind standing out in a gym full of sweaty guys. She kind of likes it.

Because, after 20-years in a wheelchair, the Canton mother of three boys is getting in the shape of her life.

And she loves the spotlight. Goodwin says, "For me, to see someone that's on TV, in a wheelchair, losing weight? That's amazing!"

Goodwin was paralyzed from the chest down in 1993. She was 17 years old, riding with friends to get pizza after a church youth group meeting. She says, "I was in the back of a pickup truck, and we were going through an intersection, and another truck turned in front of us. And my back hit the cab. And severed my spinal cord. I knew immediately that I was paralyzed."

She spent two and half months at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. "Had to learn everything over again. I couldn't even lift my head off the bed," she says.

But Goodwin pushed through it. She went back to high school, and back to cheerleading, only now it was from a wheelchair.

She married her high school sweetheart, Will, and they raised 3 boys. But, she also put on weight. Goodwin says, "Gaining weight was hard for me, because, you know, being in a wheelchair, I automatically take 15 years off my life."

By her mid-30s, Goodwin she needed to make a change. She tried out for two national TV weight loss competitions. One show flew her out to Los Angeles. But, she says, "They called three days later and said, "We're not going to take you. That's when I hit rock bottom."

She realized, she had to do this on her own. So, she took some "before" photos. She says, "I sent them to my mom and said, "Should I post this?" And she said, "Absolutely not!" I sat there with my hand on the mouse for two hours not sure if I wanted to put this out there."

But Jamie *did.* And the response was swift. She says, "Automatically it just spread, people cheering me on." That's when her Facebook page "Wheelin' Weightloss" was born. She says, "I started just posting to the page, and updating people, and encouraging people. They're just rooting me on, and I love it."

And last summer, she found Rodney McClure, who runs RAM Athletic in Canton. McClure, says, "Oh, man! I never had a friend in a wheelchair. Ever."

McClure trains a hardcore group of friends at his Canton gym - as a hobby. Jamie was his buddy, but the idea of training someone paralyzed from the chest down was daunting. McClure says, "I was so uncomfortable, I was unbelievably uncomfortable. I was really comfortable in our friendship. Because we hang out outside of here. But I was unbelievably uncomfortable in how unqualified I was to understand her realities. There's no way I will ever know."

But McClure was open to learning about Jamie's "reality." The two of them visited Shepherd Center to learn about adaptive training equipment for people with spinal cord injuries. He built a workout Jamie can do - using only her upper body. He says,

"The biggest thing I've seen in Jamie is she's learning where her limits are, how hard she can go."

In 10 months, Jamie's lost 37-pounds. And she's got big goals. She says, "I want to see my boys graduate from high school, I want to be a grandmother, I want to be a hot wife in a wheelchair for my husband! "

And, for Jamie Goodwin, this is just the beginning. She says, "I'm like, I can do this! And I want other people to do it."

Goodwin recently participated in her first 5K road races. Her ultimate goal is to one day ride in the Peachtree Road Race.

She says the idea of wheeling her way past Shepherd Center, where she found hope after her accident 20 years ago, gives her chills.

You can follow Jamie Goodwin's progress at https://www.facebook.com/wheelinweightloss. And if you like looking at "before" and "after" photos, she's got plenty.

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