Man With Terminal Illness Refuses to Accept Fate and Starts Hitting the Gym Hard

August 2, 2019 Updated: August 6, 2019

Jared Wells, of Utica, New York, was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), a terminal illness with no cure. His body began to deteriorate, and life became a constant struggle during his teens. But that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals.

The hardships Jared faced on his iron-pumping journey prove his sheer determination to succeed.

“I would say about five years ago I started to get really bad,” said Jared, per a March 28, 2018, report on WKTV. “I just kept getting sicker and sicker.”

This is my son's friend Jarod.Before I hear any wise cracks. Jared has been fighting lung cancer and we almost lost…

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“I got really close a couple of times that I was not even sure I was going to bounce back and after that it seemed really tough to get out of it but eventually I made my way though and I’m here now,” said the 21-year-old.

Cystic fibrosis causes a thick sticky mucus accumulation, especially in the lungs and digestive system. It can become a constant battle to breathe, and usually sufferers are below normal weight, as their bodies can become starved of nutrients.

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“It’s quite frightening and I never thought I would have to deal with it at that young of age because usually they say it’s not until your 40’s or 50’s that it happens and for me I was dealing with it at about 18, 19. I was truly scared because I wanted to do a lot more.”

Thankfully, Jared has plenty of support to help him through, with his mom always there to encourage him.

“Thank you to my mom for being in my corner since day one and never giving up on me.”

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“We almost lost him once or twice,” said best friend Vinny Donnelly.

Vinny was a great inspiration to Jared after his doctor gave him the all clear.

“When he said I could start working out, I immediately told Vinny. He’s like all right, you want to go to the gym at six in the morning? And I’m like yeah, yeah why not.”

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A post shared by Jared Wells (@wellsy351) on

Since he began working out, his health has taken a dramatic improvement, and he is steadily gaining weight.

“Oh it changed his whole life,” said Vinny. “Jared has more energy throughout the day now. He breathes a lot better which is huge.”

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And there are plenty of others helping to keep Jared motivated too.

“Every morning now we have an extra 30–40 people in the gym just to watch Jared workout. The kid is growing in the mirror. Everyday he makes progress because he has such low body fat. You can see all his muscles move,” said Bob Donnelly, gym owner and Vinny’s dad.

Bob posted a picture of Jared working out to Facebook, and it quickly went viral.

“I honestly didn’t see that going anywhere and the next thing I knew there was 3 million views, 4 million and just going up,” said Jared.

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There is nothing like so many people watching you improve and offering their words of encouragement.

“It’s definitely getting me to get out of bed because I know a lot of people are looking to see the journey and I’m glad I can inspire a lot of people while doing it,” he said.

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When he entered his first bodybuilding competition, he was placed fourth—quite an incredible accomplishment for someone who wasn’t expected to make it past the age of 7.