Learn More About Randy Bertisch
After viewing today’s inspiring video about Randy Bertisch, we wanted to learn more about this amazing man and his My Gym Challenged America Foundation that has helped more than 1,000 underprivileged children nationwide since he created it in 2002. Just whoo is this amazing man anyway? Read Pat's interview with him right here to find out!
Randy lives in Westwood, California, in the heart of vibrant UCLA territory. It’s also just two blocks from where he shot his Levi’s commercial at 22, two years before he suffered severe brain injuries in the accident the doctors predicted would kill him within hours and if it didn’t, his family should “pray for the kindness of death because the alternative was lying in a coma for the rest of my life.” Randy continues to defy the odds today.
That you can’t take no for an answer! Because even doctors can’t determine how much one’s self-motivation comes out at the most challenging times, don’t accept a negative prognosis. You have more strength than you know. Use it during your most troubling times.
You inspire so many people. Who or what inspires YOU?
Life inspires me because I want to do whatever I’m capable of doing. The kids inspire me – the active and “normal” ones I see at My Gyms and the ones who face unbelievable challenges and still have smiles on their faces. The parents and families of those children are really an inspiration, as they work and struggle to make ends meet while coping with all the trials and tribulations life brings.
Do you work with the Foundation every day?
My life revolves around many aspects of My Gym Challenged America’s existence. While I do not work on the Foundation every day, I am somewhat involved in all areas of services and greatly enjoy helping children grow and attain what they need to live life to their maximum potential. As of now, because of our still somewhat struggling economy, we are mainly concentrating our efforts on the side that awards My Gym scholarships to needy children and those with challenges in an effort to help them gain the tools they need to thrive in their daily lives. As soon as we are able, we’ll get back to focusing on Challenged America’s main goal of gifting much-needed equipment and therapies to severely physically and developmentally challenged children. We hope to get back to being an enormous influence upon those who need inspiration and help in persevering through unimaginable circumstances. The difference our past gifts have made in children’s lives is just amazing.
You're now at the age where you have lived the same amount of years before and after your accident. What do you think your life would have been like if there had been no accident?
Not to toot my own horn; but, honestly, with the love I had for acting and the way my career was going (I had just been flown to New York for a screen test for a daytime soap and had gotten word that I was going to be offered the role), I believe I would have been a significant part of the industry! Acting and directing were my absolute loves from as young an age as I can remember.
How do you continue to maintain such a positive attitude in the face of so many challenges?
Ya know, I ask myself that almost every day. In the past few years, I have finally realized that this is my life and I have to deal with it the best that I can….so why not make life fun for myself while I contribute what I’ve learned to others in similar situations. It’s a way of giving back for me.
Your accident took away many abilities most people take for granted. What do you miss most? Walking!!!
What surprises you the most about how people react to the physically and developmentally challenged?
What surprises and bothers me the most is that most people assume, just because you can’t walk, control parts of your body, or communicate clearly without impediments, that you can’t speak for yourself. Disabled individuals are people, with thoughts, feelings, and desires just like everyone else. I also wish that I, as an injured person with some limited capabilities, could be considered “normal.”
If you could give everyone reading this just one message, what would it be?
Never give up or lose hope because “THEY” don’t know what the future holds.