Jack is running in memory of his father, whom he lost to Alzheimer’s disease on June 30, 2000. This journey is also a celebration of life for Jack. When he was just three years old, Jack was run over by a car and told he may never walk again. Just one year after his father passed away, Jack was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer, and was told he might not survive. His organs were trying to shut down. The doctors also discovered a grade 2 heart murmur. Jack weighed between 260 – 272 lbs. After 4 days, he left ICU. He was told he had about 1 year to live if he continued on the path he was on. It was at this time that Fussell decided to turn his life around and commit to a healthy lifestyle. He purchased a book by Dr. Kenneth Cooper as well as the original p90 CD series. He also purchased a body fat scale and heart rate monitor. Then, he went to work. He ate an 1800-calorie food pyramid diet and began doing aerobic workouts one day and light resistance exercises the next. He lost around 100 lbs in one year. He set 5 goals to be accomplished at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, GA. The goals were to go down and back up the 604 stairs 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 times. One time to Jack means 604 down and 604 up. That is 1208 stairs for 1 trip to Jack. In July 2011, he did the stairs 50 times down and up. He worked that day on the stairs for 17 hours and 18 minutes. Shortly after that he was invited to the Governor’s mansion for the kick off of “Get Fit in the Parks Tons of Fun Program.”
Without a clear cut goal in front of him for the first time in about 6 years, he felt empty. He prayed and waited and talked to a few friends and one night around 9:00 pm, he decided he would travel across America on foot. He decided he wanted to try and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. He also wants others to know, it is never too late to make changes to your body and to your activity level.
Jack is now well on his way to Monterey, California—walking, jogging and inspiring so many people throughout this journey.