FYS 022 | Hearing Loss

022: Justin Osmond, Son of One of the Famous Osmond Brothers Talks About Overcoming His Hearing Loss and Helping Others. Super Inspirational…

FYS 022 | Hearing Loss

This week, we’ve got another epic guest. He really fits in the whole classification of a guy that has overcome a lot of adversity and found his way in life. His name is Justin Osmond. Justin is from a very famous family: the Osmonds. We all remember growing up, The Osmonds, Donny and Marie singing away and all the brothers in the background. The family Christmas specials in the homes and they’d sing these great Christmas carols. It was really awesome and very family friendly. Here comes Justin along, son of Merrill. He’s born with a severe hearing loss. What that must have been like, the son of a famous father who still sings today and he can’t hear or understand what he was saying. They finally figured this thing out at about three years old. At that point, there was this whole learning component that he had overcome, and what that was like doubling up to catch up in a lot of cases. He was bullied in high school and when he was a youth, but he persevered. He went on and he can play a whole bunch of instruments: the violin, the viola, the piano and the drums. Then he played sports. He went on and become a Scout Eagle. Then later in life, he formed a foundation in honor and memory of his super great grandma, Olive, who was really the matriarch of the whole Osmond family. He tells all these cool stories about the whole Osmond singing tree began.

It really began from the Osmond’s oldest brothers who were deaf themselves. The younger Osmonds, Merrill, Jimmy and Jay and the others went out and they formed a barbershop quartet. They would sing in fairs and then they raised enough money to be able to buy these hearing aids for their brothers so they could actually hear. This thing was hereditary. Unfortunately for Justin, it happened to him but he’s overcome. He’s got such an infectious positive spirit that it was just really cool to talk to him, to understand what his struggle was, how he overcame it and where he is today. Like a lot of these podcasts, it’s another inspiring one. Just my treat, my pleasure and honor to speak with a guy like Justin. As always, remember to rate and review and go into iTunes and give some love. You are doing a great job. The podcasts are taking off. Totally appreciate it, so know that it’s totally heartfelt. On that note, let’s go talk to Justin.

Listen to the podcast here:

Justin Osmond, Son of One of the Famous Osmond Brothers Talks About Overcoming His Hearing Loss and Helping Others. Super Inspirational…

Today, we’re broadcasting live from Hermosa Beach. We’re bouncing all the way over to St. George, Utah. I’m pretty fired up to speak to my guest today. His name is Justin Osmond. He’s part of the whole Osmond clan and he’s got just a great story to tell. The first thing I want to do is bring in Justin. Justin, how are you doing?

I’m great, Mark. It’s an honor to be in your show.

As I just said in the opening that the name of the show is called Finding Your Summit. For me, that’s all about overcoming adversity and moving on to success. Let me just tee this up a little bit and then you can take it from there. You are really a guy who’s had to endure that just not like walk the walk and talk the talk but actually go through hard times. In your case, you were born with a severe hearing loss. I think for anybody, that would be a huge obstacle to overcome. Now, you’re the son of Merrill Osmond, one of the original Osmond brothers. I don’t know the total clan of the Osmond, the people that sing but that must have been a very difficult thing, a very musical family. Now, you can’t hear and so, what you had to do to overcome that. What was that like for you in terms of your struggle early on?

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It’s a miracle that with my profound hearing loss I can even hear you right now.

First of all, it’s a miracle that with my profound hearing loss, that I can even hear you right now on your show and to be able to communicate and to be able to understand what you’re going through. You’re right. I was born into this world-renowned musical family. Just imagine being born into this musical family and not being able to hear anything. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was almost two years old. If you can just imagine, for two years, I lived in a world void of sound; no music, no sound. I remember vaguely going to some of my dad’s concerts. He’s the lead singer of the Osmonds and all I see is mouth moving around and no sound, no music. To me, I thought that was normal. I thought that was just part of my life. Then all of a sudden, they put these hearing devices in my ears and I transformed. It was like a light switch comes on, a click with true light come on. We live in a very noisy world. It was scary but also life changing in a way. It was difficult. I remember growing up, technology back then is nothing like it is today. They had the big devices, had wires coming out of my ears. Unfortunately, I got bullied and got made fun of because I stood out like a sore thumb and of course a lot of people of didn’t know how to react or respond around me just because I looked so different.

I had a wonderful family, great support, great friends. My siblings were my rock. They were always there with me, supporting me along the way. My mom, as soon as they found out that I had a severe profound hearing loss, they put me on an intense speech comprehensive therapy program, where I had to take speech therapy for almost ten years just to catch up. If you think about it, two years without noise or sound or music or anything, you’re almost like two years behind your peers. I had to work extra time, I had to put in a little more mental exertion if you will, to try to catch up. Some days, I feel like I’m still trying to catch up.

This stuff is innate to you because you’ve been living with this since day zero. How does that work? I’m going to hack this up. Excuse me, just my vernacular; you get some hearing aid when you’re two or three years old? How young were you?

Almost two years old. I was about 22 to 23 months old. I was just outside playing with my brothers and my mom came out and told us to come in for lunch. Of course they respond and I’m still out playing in the sand box and I don’t respond. That’s when they found out. To answer your question, I was about 23 months.

Was there surgery or were these just implants, electrical devices in your ear?

At that time, they didn’t have the newborn screening like we have today. I believe almost 100% of the hospitals out there today, when a baby is born, they go through a screening process. They can immediately find out if they have a hearing loss. For me, they didn’t know if it was a nerve deafness, they didn’t know if it was a bone conductive loss or a sensual nerve deafness. They had to do a couple of surgical procedures on me just to figure if maybe my bones were just not in the right place in my middle ear. They had to do a lot of different operations on me to figure out. After a bunch of different tests, they did find out that it was a nerve deafness, which by the way, they did some other tests and they found out that it does run in my family. Even though I’m the only one in the whole second generation of the Osmond family that was born with this hearing loss, I did have two deaf uncles. In fact, it was my dad’s two older brothers that were never part of the musical group. They found out that it was hereditary. It ran in the family. I inherited that deaf gene in my family.

Let’s talk about your family for just a second and then I want to get back to all the things that you did to overcome this. For everybody, what’s about to come is this story of just great triumph with all these amazing things that you’ve done, Justin. I want to get in to that. Do you remember the first time that your dad, Merrill, sang? This was Jay and Jimmy and Merrill and Donny Osmond that they had a whole bunch of the brothers and one sister that sang. Is there any one moment where your dad sat down, brought out his guitar, whatever he did where that was the defining moment where music came into your ears and you heard it and it was just that magical moment?

When you’re almost two years old, that’s like 38 years ago. It’s really hard to remember and people have asked me that same exact question. I can vaguely remember one time and it was right around the time when I first heard and then I was going through this huge transformation in my life. I do remember we were at the New York Madison Square Garden. My dad, my uncle Donny and Marie, everybody was doing a performance out there.

How old are you?

I’m just almost right around three at that time.

You can remember that. That’s awesome.

I was just looking around the people, the fans. I remember I was sitting in the front with my mom. They got us some good seats. I remember looking up and it was loud. The people were louder than my dad. I just remember hearing things and I remember I got a headache and it was just so loud. I remember going back days after and I said, “Dad, all I could see was your mouth going up and down and I couldn’t understand one word that you said.” I just remember my dad was crying because he wants his own son to be able to hear his own dad sing and not just hear him but to understand him. Many, many years after that, my dad would always take the time and sit down with me and he would serenade to me, just father and son. If I didn’t still get it, he would write down the words for me, the lyrics to the songs. That was so cool just to have that one-on-one with my dad especially when he’s the lead singer and also the producer of the Donny & Marie Show. He’s the one that wrote many of their gold and platinum records over the years. That was one thing I could vaguely remember. I know I was pretty young but it was not only frightening but it was also enlightening just because I can hear.

I can imagine it would be liberating. Before my preparation for this interview with you, I went back and this has nothing to do with you necessarily but indirectly. I was just going back and watching some of the Osmond brother videos of them singing. Not only does everybody sing just to have that glasses half full, happiness about them that glow, but your dad in particular, just seems like a good dude. He just seems like the type of guy that you’d want to hang out with. Everything is good and everything is going to be okay. Hopefully, that’s what it was like for you and it sounds like it was.

FYS 022 | Hearing Loss

My dad was crying because he wants his own son to be able to hear his own dad sing and not just hear him but to understand him.

Thank you, Mark. I appreciate that compliment. That’s very nice of you. My dad is my hero. He’s hung out with anybody you can possibly think of. He’s good friends with Elvis Presley, good friends with Paul McCartney, you name it. He’s hung out with these guys but he never let it to get to his head. He’s one of the most humble man you’ll ever meet. That’s why I love my dad. When he’s out in the spotlight, he doesn’t let it get to him. He puts his family first above everything else. He spends time with his kids and he let them know that too. He’s created good family traditions, family time and vacations and created good family values as well. More than anything, my dad and my siblings and my family always treated me like I was no different. They always told me that I could do this. Coming from a musical family, people think I should automatically be musically inclined. I had a doctor tell me that because of my profound hearing loss, I would never be a musician. When anybody tells me I can’t do something, that ignites a fire within me like no other. I just remember, even though I don’t have the golden throat like my dad or my uncle, Donny and Marie, that’s okay. I’ll be honest and say I cannot sing, but I can play a mean fiddle. I wish to have my fiddle with me today. I would play it for you.

I want to get in to all this. I want to make sure we don’t leap frog over something because this is where I think the story really kicks in for you from my perspective. From the time you were born to two years old, you can’t hear anything and that is your normal. Then, you’re out in the backyard and you’re playing around, and your mom calls you in for dinner and your siblings go running in and you’re still in the sand box. You’re in this position where they figured this thing out, they go to the doctors, you discovered that there is this hearing issue and you solve it. Now, it’s your new normal. Now, you can hear things and it’s amazing. Now, there’s this whole thing about the other kids have been that much more advanced and so you’re paddling to catch up. Where did it kick in where now you’re going to say, “I’m not going to let this own me. I’m going to go out and I’m going to overcome these different things. Even though I can’t sing, I’m going to learn different instruments and I’m going to go and play sports. I’m going to go and become an Eagle Scout.” Where did that kick in where that determination that you’re not going to let this thing rule your life?

I’ve learned that you cannot let the limiting belief of others limit what’s possible for you, what’s possible for me. I had a lot of people, unfortunately, I don’t where these people come from, but they would tell me these things. Thank goodness, I had a very strong support system around me to rally me up. Trust me, I got me down. When I got down, I would get back up or I would get down but the key is to get back on the saddle. Of course, a lot of it is having a good attitude. If not, what you are is who you are. I remember growing up thinking, “I want to be like Justin Timberlake. I want to be like Justin Bieber.” I was like, “What the heck? I don’t want to be like those guys. I want to be Justin Osmond.” Right now, you can probably tell a little deaf accent as we talk on the show. I had it all the time as I was growing up. I had people come up to me and say, “Where are you from? Are you from Canada? Are you from Australia? Because you certainly don’t sound like an American because of your accent.” I remember taking that so personally, so hard, but after a while I was like, “That’s my brand. That’s who I am. That’s my signature. That’s who I am as Justin Osmond.” Once I realized, as I tried to stop pretending to be like somebody else, like Justin Timberlake or whoever Justin is out there and start being myself, and I accept myself for who I am, not what I am but who I am. I realized two things: I’m a lot happier with myself and second, other people started accepting myself for who I am as well. I just had that transformation there and I realized I was so much happy with myself and that led me to my personal motto, “I may have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss did not have me.”

I’ve got a buddy and he played with me, actually I don’t know how many people in the US in the history of playing football. He played with me at high school in Seattle. Then we played together at the University of Washington and then we both went on into the NFL. I don’t know how many people actually pulled that off. He was a quarterback, I was a receiver. His name is Hugh Millen. One time, he was with my daughter. We’re all coming in the room and he came over to my daughter, Claudette, and he goes, “Hey, Claudette.” He’s got this gigantic hands and he’s got this finger about fourteen inches long. He’s got this thing in front of her pointing and she was four at that time. He goes, “Claudette, let me ask you this question. What is the one thing that you can control that you’re born with that you have the choice to do what you want to do? You can’t change the way you look. If you have a disability, you can’t change how athletic you are. Those things are what they are but what is that?” She’s looking at him like not sure. It’s something that you have, which is your attitude. In your case, you’ve got this attitude of gratitude. You’ve got this “I’m not going to let this thing weigh me down.” That’s just a really cool thing. It’s very contagious to listen to you and to hear that these things came up. By the way, you go back to that whole bully thing. My younger daughter, Emilia, was born with a form of epilepsy. You talked about people giving you a bad time or bullying or whatever that was but for her, the same thing in high school. She just went off to Arizona and she’s having a ball over there but it’s just like, “Who are these people? What is the problem?” I just don’t get that and it frustrates me because as a parent, I went through that with my daughter.

Your daughter is very lucky to have you and have a good support system around her. Everybody has particular setbacks with challenges or opposition that they go through. The key or the secret ingredient I believe is not to let those challenges have you or to own you. I believe that if anybody is ever going to do anything great in life, they have to accept the reality that there will be oppositions. There will be setbacks and delays and even criticism. When you’re going to have big dreams, you’re going to have big challenges and you’re going to have to face them. The thing is if you were an average person, then you would have average problems. The key is that we’re not average. I believe that we all have a great destination in this life. We have great aspirations. We just need to go after it. Just being around great inspirational people like you, Mark, to help and give us that hope. That’s the keyword right there too, Mark. It wasn’t a lack of hearing on my part, it was more of a lack of hope that would stop me in my track or would stop from progressing or developing or want to go further and to learn to play the violin. For anybody, that has a particular challenge, you just need to rise above that. Rise above how the world looks at it and deep down inside, there’s a voice that says, “You can do this. You can absolutely do this.”

There’s no question that at times, maybe all of us, you doubt yourself. You have that little fear monger in your head saying, “Can I do this? Can I not?” You may start to waver on the side of hope and that’s really hopeless but then you kick it back in the gear and that’s awesome. You mentioned that you play the violin, the viola, the piano, the drums. What instrument don’t you play? You’re like a one-man band.

I want to play the banjo now. My dad plays the banjo and I think that’s my next instrument I’m going to learn to play. It’s never too late as you get older to learn that. I love it. Just so you know, because of my profound hearing loss, I have a horrible hit intonation, meaning I can’t hear whether it’s flat or sharp or whatnot. I remember like it was yesterday. I was practicing my violin one morning. All my brothers are in the other room playing the piano and the cello and whatnot. I remember I was so frustrated because they are so loud, I can’t hear myself play. I turned my hearing aids off and that gets through one problem, which is I can’t hear my siblings anymore which is nice. I don’t have to hear them. I decided to experiment and I put my violin next to my chin, underneath my chin, near my neck and I started to play. The most amazing thing happened. As long as I stayed in the low frequency, I could hear myself play. I soon realized and I was talking to my teacher and some people in my Music class that it’s the conductive vibration that you learn to hear, and we have to hear with our brain instead of our ears. Our ears are just an open channel for the sound wave to come through but we really interpret all of our sounds in our brain. To make a long story short, I learned to play the violin and the viola by not hearing it but by feeling it through the vibration.

I can relate to what you’re saying. When I was a young kid, my mother was a trained professional violinist. She’s still to this day is outstanding. She turned me on to this system called the Suzuki Method. Essentially, that was from kindergarten or first grade to eighth grade, I took lessons. It’s all Bach, Beethoven and all that stuff. The way we’d learn was not through reading music but by listening to a record and then from that record, I translate that on to the violin. When you’re talking about the violin is tucked under your chin and you can hear those vibrations, I know exactly what you’re talking about. That makes sense to me.

Let’s talk about your sports and you becoming an Eagle Scout. I was a little nerd boy scout running around, but I know to become an Eagle, just takes a tremendous amount of dedication. It seems like the guys that come out of that, it’s not because of this but just have a great moral compass about doing the right thing and going the extra mile and achievement. You scored that, it’s awesome.

I credit that to my parents. They’re always teaching us to be service-oriented. To become an Eagle Scout, you have to do a big Eagle Scout service project. I just remember I had a good friend of mine. He and I were very much alike. He was also born with a profound hearing loss, but the difference was he came from a very poor, poverty-stricken family, had no money and no resources. I just remember, I know what it’s like not to be able to hear. I just remember going out and knocking on my neighbors’ doors, just soliciting for $5 there, $10 there and I was able to raise enough money as part of my Eagle Scout project to help my friend with a new set of hearing aids. I tell you, when he came in we’re both wearing our Boy Scout uniform and I remember handing him this hearing aid. Mark, as he started to cry, I’m thinking that is what I want to do with my life. I want to pay it forward. I was bullied, so I went out and I started an anti-bullying campaign. I helped provide the gift of hearing to other kids like me all around the world. It’s been fun to be able to participate in something like that. It’s great to be an Eagle Scout.

Let’s springboard from that. You talked about an act of service, which is so noble. I don’t know how many years ago but you started the Olive Osmond Foundation. What is that?

Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, that’s the name of the charity. Olive Osmond is the matriarch of the Osmond family. She’s my grandmother. I am her favorite grandchild.

They used to show the whole family scene, they’d have a Christmas Osmond special or something. They had it over and sing Christmas carols, and I think she was there and grandpa and all the siblings. I think that’s what I remember.

The Osmond Family Christmas Special, we had so many of those especially when they did the Donny & Marie show and all those television shows back in the day. Those were huge family affairs. We all get together and more food that you can possibly imagine on the table and whatnot. My grandmother Olive, she was the glue to this family. I’ll tell you a story. It’s probably an untold story of our family that not very many people know. When she had her two older boys, Virl and Tom, they were both born deaf like myself. The doctors at that time told her not to have any more children because they thought the rest of the kids would be deaf. Thank goodness she did not listen to the doctor. She had seven more children, and nine kids total.

FYS 022 | Hearing Loss

They were able to raise enough money so they could purchase hearing aids for their two deaf brothers.

Today, the Osmond brothers, Donny and Marie are here and of course, if she didn’t have seven more kids, I wouldn’t be here today. What’s really neat about it and I tell you the story, is the whole reason why the Osmond family got started in show business was because their two older brothers, who again were both born deaf, they were never a part of the musical group because they couldn’t hear. They lived on a very small, little dairy farm up Ogden, Utah. As you probably know, hearing aids are not cheap. They’re very expensive. Of course, they couldn’t afford hearing aids for their two deaf brothers at that time. What did they do? They started singing and they started doing barbershop music and they started performing at little functions, little county fairs down there. They were able to raise enough money so they could purchase hearing aids for their two deaf brothers. That right there is one of the main reasons how the Osmond family got started in the entertainment business.

I didn’t know that and beyond that, just a great story of a family coming together and just giving of themselves for the greater good of two family members who obviously needed these hearing aids.

It’s interesting, it runs in our family. I’ll tell you another quick story. My grandmother started a charity and this will explain why I started the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund. At that time, my grandmother started a charity called The Osmond Foundation. That was primarily set up to help her two deaf sons, to provide resources in deaf awareness and for other deaf children as well. That charity, The Osmond Foundation continued to grow and it grew and it’s now known today as the Children’s Miracle Network. You might have heard of the CMN Hospital, the children hospital. That was actually started by my grandmother. A lot of people don’t know that she’s one of the co-founders of the Children Miracle Network. You will see the little hot air balloon at Walmart sometimes.

Anyway, I come along knowing that she was so passionate about the deaf, especially her two deaf sons. Imagining being the brothers of Donny and Marie and my dad and never been able to go on stage with them. They’re always behind the scene and on the side of the stage. That talked about another challenge that they had to go through, and they’re another couple of my heroes. When my grandmother passed away, I started a charity in honor of my grandmother to carry her legacy and her dream and her passion helping more deaf children. That’s why I started this Olive Osmond Hearing Fund because I love my grandmother very much. She did so much good for people. I wanted to continue that legacy and continue to pay that forward.

How do you propel that today? Let’s jump in to all the different things that you’ve been able to accomplish and that’s growing up and playing sports, becoming an Eagle Scout and playing all these different instruments and all your schooling. Where does that take you today?

I love that you’re an athlete too, Mark. Again, I’m honored to be on your show and be able to even talk to you. I look up to you so much. You’re a great role model for so many today. I remember when I played high school football, I was the field goal kicker. Just a funny little story; I used to take my hearing aids out because it was so loud and the fans are screaming and yelling and I would get so distracted. When I take my hearing aids out, it’s nice and quiet. I was able to focus and laser in on that ball. As soon as that ball was hike, I would go right in and I can kick that ball. It was the nicest thing because I could never get distracted with the screaming fans. That applied to all my other sports, in soccer and tennis, etc. To answer your question and bring everything back into focus. We cannot let the limiting belief of others limit what is really possible for you and I and everybody out there that’s listening. Deep down inside, everybody has incredible potential. Despite the challenges whether they’re physically and mentally, spiritually or whatever it maybe that we may be going through, I truly believe that we can climb those mountains. When we get to the top, it’s one of the best feelings in all of the world. We need to surround ourselves with great people like you and people that are listening to this show. Encourage each other, to support each other, complement each other instead of tearing each other down because we do. We live in a very degenerating society.

You’ve got a great message. Is your platform then to public speak, to deliver this great message of optimism and support and happiness over getting things?

You’re right. I share with the world the challenges and the blessings that come from coping with any particular challenge. I relate that to anybody that’s having their hardships that they’re having to face. Talking about determination, attitude, habits and how to handle these challenges. That’s my platform. I could offer a message of hope to anybody that’s trying to tackle a particular challenge that they may be going through.

I don’t know how recent this was, but you created a book, which I’m still trying to figure how to actually write a book. Maybe writing is the better word than create. It’s called Hearing with My Heart. What is that all about?

FYS 022 | Hearing Loss

Hearing with My Heart

Basically, it has a lot of synonymous meaning to it especially when I can’t really hear with my physical ears especially when my hearing aids are out. I’ve had to rely to a lot of my other senses. When you lose one sense, you rely on your other senses. I’ve had to learn to follow my heart. I know a lot of people say that. It’s very easy to say. I go more into detail about that in following your instincts and try not to be too much of an intellect because we do. We tend to overthink things sometimes. That’s not a bad thing but if we’re not careful, it can get us into a situation where it’s not the most healthy situation we might find ourselves in. If we really follow our heart and let the spirit of our heart guide us, our instincts and be more in unison with our intellect and our heart, combined in one. I told a lot of stories and experiences like that in my book that talked a lot about that.

To grow up in a family like that, to have a dad icon, that has been very successful in the business for his pretty much entire life and then for him to be a great role model and for you to go through the struggle and overcome a lot of these different things: write a book, play sports and become an Eagle Scout and public speak and start a foundation, you truly are walking the walk and doing it the way you want. I’ve done a couple of things where I felt very purposeful but I can completely relate to what you’re talking about. I felt that way, five, six years ago when I was going through a tough time and I rediscovered really my joy by mountain climbing and now trying to become the first NFL guy to climb the Seven Summits and getting closer to that goal. It’s really been the journey enroute to my ultimate destination that has brought me the happiness. It’s not the standing on the summit literally, but just the whole pursuit of happiness but doing it by, as you said, leading with your heart. I can really relate to what you’re saying. It’s great message.

The last thing I want to ask you is you continue to do some pretty amazing stuff. The other thing I saw was that you ran. The reason why I say this is I can go about five miles and I drop. I can hike a long way, but I’m just not built to go long distances. I’ve done a half but I’ve never done a full marathon. You ran 250 miles in seven days. As I was reading about that, I just had this image of Forrest Gump, the scene in the movie when he decided to run across the country. A lot of that scene was going right through Utah. What was that about?

Remind me to never do that again. I’m not really a runner, although I can try to run a couple of miles to keep in shape. One day, I was just running. I’m always thinking of ideas on how I can help more deaf children here with the gift of hearing through my charity. I remember running and I’m like, “Why not run across the whole state of Utah?” You know how you dream a little bit but sometimes it’s always realistic. I came home so excited, I was on fire. I pulled my wife and say, “I want to run 250 miles across the state of Utah.” I did some research before then and I found out that there were 25 deaf children in the school district down in Southern Utah that needed some new hearing aids. I figured, “Why not raise some awareness and raise some money to help these kids?” so, I did.

I started a ten-month training program. My wife didn’t really support me at that time. She said, “Try for six months, if you’re not injured by then maybe I’ll go with you.” She was just trying to protect me. I trained and the biggest challenge was trying to get up every morning and run another 30 miles, another 40 miles and keep going back to back. The challenge was I’m basically running ten marathons back to back and so going through all these challenges. The thing that really made me keep going was I keep thinking about those kids. I remember the day I started, I was doing really well and I ran 40 miles the first day and the next day I ran 35 miles. The next day, I ran another 35 miles. By the fourth and the fifth day, I couldn’t remember what day it was, I remember I was in such agonizing pain. How many toenails I lost, how many blisters I had. Almost every bone in my body was aching.

I was on my 210th mile, I had 40 miles left and everything was in so much pain. I was almost ready to give up. I was on the verge of just saying, “I’ve ran over 200 miles, that’s pretty damn good. I’ve already raised the money to help those 25 kids. I accomplished my goals that way.” Still I was just in so much pain, I didn’t think I could finish but just then, Mark, one of the most beautiful things ever happened. One of the 25 kids that I was running for, that was waiting at the finish line, drove up with his parents. He was a little eight-year old boy. I remember I was on the side of the road and he came running up to me and gave me the biggest hug and he just started to cry. He said, “Thank you so much for running for me so that I could get a new pair of hearing aids.” I laughed and I started crying. That right there, Mark, I became the Energizer Bunny. There was some extra boost of adrenaline that came to my whole body that it’s so hard to explain. The next morning, I ran all the way to the finish line with all the 25 kids there with their family and whatnot. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done to this day, but one of the most rewarding.

I have between NFL camps and other physical challenges I’ve done up in the mountains. This last May, I was on a crazy mountain. The weather was actually worse than it gets on Mt. Everest, a mountain called Denali. We were up at 14,000 feet every day and it was minus 25 in our tent every night. Think about trying to sleep in that. You’ve got as many layers as you can put on night after night and you’re sleeping on the snow. It’s hard. What I kept saying to these other people is, “Pain is temporary.” This all becomes about a mindset of just that. You will get through it but you just got to go through the pain and just get to the other side. In this case, you did exactly that. You needed a little booster like the story of this kid that jumped out of the car. He’s eight years old, he comes over and gave you a big hug and he appreciated exactly what you did. We all need those little inspirations and whether somebody else, a coach choose you out or whether a little kid runs up to you or whether you listen to something, whatever that is, we can all get to the other side and whatever you’re going through, it’s temporary.

Justin, you have been a great guest on this show. Everybody goes through something and some people’s struggle is worse than others and certainly, you’ve had your adversity to get through and you’ve done. You’ve done that fighting. You’ve done that in a very triumphant way. You’ve done it with the most positive attitude and I just really congratulate you for that. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Mark, thank you. It was an honor to be on the show. Thank you for all you’re doing and inspiring so many people. I appreciate it very much.

One last thing, where can people find you? You have a great message and people need to hear it.

They can go to JustinOsmond.com.

Thank you so much.

Thank you, Mark.

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