NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” is known for combining inspirational stories with demonstrations of physical ability, and Monday night’s episode was no exception. One of the contestants specifically caught the attention of the audience based on the story of the challenges he faces in his life and the valiant way he took on the obstacle course.
As reported by A Plus, Jimmy Choi suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a chronic movement disorder estimated to affect up to 1 million Americans.
The 41-year-old tech consultant from Illinois was diagnosed with a young-onset form of the disease at age 27. Only four percent of Parkinson’s suffers are typically diagnosed before the age of 50.
Choi described how his initial diagnosis left him feeling “a lot of anger and depression,” but that turned around and, in 2012, he discovered how exercise could help him manage his condition.
He previously competed in bike rides, marathons, and triathlon. Throughout his competitions, he has raised over $100,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Speaking of the American Ninja Warrior course, Choi said, “My goal is to go out there and show everybody out there, no matter what they’re faced with, the hardest step is the first step,” continuing, “Once you take that first step, the rest comes easy.”
Michael J. Fox, himself diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29, sent a message to Choi saying, “Life is an obstacle course, and Parkinson’s adds its own hurdles along the way, but you handle it all with grace and determination.”
Others took to Twitter to express their support for Choi including one of the show’s hosts, Akbar Gbajabiamila.
Choi’s run on the “American Ninja Warrior” course started strong, but he ultimately fell on the broken pipes obstacle, disqualifying him from going further in this year’s competition.
However, Choi is already looking ahead and is hoping to take on the course next year.