CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Crossfit athlete Jeffrey Fisher makes great strides after suffering a severe stroke in September 2011 that left him partially paralyzed, unable to speak, read or write.
“I don’t think they thought he was going to live through the night,” said his wife Alice Fisher. “And then he moved his left fingers.”
Jeffrey was diagnosed with Aphasia, a brain damaging disorder that affects a person’s ability to express speech.
After physicians learned more of his diagnosis, the consensus was that Jeffrey would not be able to communicate or move the right-side of his body after the first few months after his stroke.
“I’ve worked with Aphasia for over 50 years. If that person doesn’t recover in the first 6-months it doesn’t come back. You have what you have,” said Speech-Language Pathologist Dr. Grace Privette- Farren.
However, Jeffrey and his wife Alice refused to accept the prognosis, and began to research alternative means while accepting the long road of recovery.
Over a decade, the pair went through 20 physicians, therapists and coaches.
Slowly but surely, Jeffrey made progress over the years, regaining his ability to speak and move little by little.
“In life you have a choice. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can always respond accordingly,” said Jeffrey. “I was going to go at it all the way. There ain’t no way I’m giving up.”
In continuing his progress, Jeffrey enrolled in a CrossFit class at Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston at the suggestion of his physician, Dr. Maysa Hannawi.
“My mindset as a coach with people who come into the gym with impairments is…ok, well let’s get you fit no matter what you’re working with,” says Rhapsody Co-Founder and Head Coach Alan Shaw.
Rhapsody Fitness is headquartered in Downtown Charleston and is one of South Carolina’s fastest growing gyms. Rhapsody specializes in premier fitness coaching with 49 classes offered at their gyms which are open 24/7.
After two years, both Jeffrey and Alice are pillars of the Rhapsody CrossFit community.
“To be working out at CrossFit for anyone who is 71 is almost a miracle,” says Privette-Farren. “But for him it’s miraculous. I don’t think medically, it can be explained.”
Jeffrey spreads awareness of Aphasia by speaking and advocating for other stroke survivors, and writing a memoir which is due for publication in Fall 2021.
“Everybody said that it could not be done. And I did it,” Jeffrey said. “Never, never, never give up.” See Jeffrey’s story from start…to be continued on Rhapsody TV.
To learn more about Rhapsody, visit rhapsodyfitness.com.