From hospital bed to lifting lead

This is a shout out to an amazing and inspirational man- Geoff Kivell.  Last week I walked past him in the studio working out with his trainer, Curtis-as he does every week. This week I did a double-take, as I suddenly remembered him being in a hospital bed only 4 years ago- unsure whether he would ever move, let alone walk again. As I started talking to him and (distracting him from his next set!), my whole body got goosebumps as he spoke about ‘lying in hospital, hooked up to tubes and having to learn how to walk again’. He spoke about being moved out of bed by a lifting frame and being so happy he could even stand for 10 seconds, then 30 seconds, then 3 minutes; as well as then being able to take 1 step, and then 2 steps in a row and soon able to shuffle down the corridor. Every step another goal achieved.  “I survived the weeks staring at the ceiling in a state of isolation by recounting in my mind all the relationships that I have & had and being grateful for the things they had given me. Contribution, and for me the chance to contribute again has been a great driver in ignoring my own residual body deficits and getting on with life.”



4 years ago Geoff was diagnosed with the sudden onset of Guillain Barre Syndrome. This is an auto immune reaction that destroys the nerve sheaths throughout the body and is triggered by some commonplace infection. Within a few days he was totally paralyzed and then on a ventilator for 8 weeks. He had been an active 74 yr. old man with an active wife- Raewyn, and together they shared many holidays all involving activities, adventures and exercise! So this was a huge set back for both of them. When you are fit and healthy you think that is how you will be for the rest of your life- and you can not even imagine not being able to move and get this disease.

After speaking to Geoff, it made me yet again be so grateful for what I have, and that is why I am sharing his story. His (and Raewyns!) motivation, commitment to getting better, positive attitude and looking into the future really helped him get to where he is today- back to exercise, lifting weights, going on rafting holidays and living life to the full. He was wanting to sharing his story also- as it “may contribute to folk who need to see that life’s ups & downs don’t have to beat them”.


He has motivated me to make these daily tips about happiness:

  1. Be grateful for your current health, body, and all its strengths and weaknesses. Appreciate what you have!
  2. When we wake up in the morning- we have the opportunity to do what ever we want within the day- make sure you choose something that is going to make you happy- make sure you enjoy your work!
  3. Choose positive- a positive attitude will get you out of bed to achieving goals and dreams
  4. One step at a time- no matter what goal, obstacle or mountain you have in front of you- you can tackle it by just starting. Take the first step- and all the other steps will follow
  5. Appreciate relationships and seek to contribute to the world around you, even in the smallest way

note: His Activ8 T.Shirt says “I am unstoppable”, and that is exactly what he is- thanks for the inspiration Geoff- keep up all your hard work and effort.

Miranda xo