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DIEGO’S CRASH WITH ADVERSITY

Nothing hit 24-year-old Terrence Diego harder than a major car accident earlier last year, but the man behind the wheel and the man today are two different people thanks to fitness, family, and religion.

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By ROBERT BALAJADIA

A recent photo of Terrence Diego relaxing at the beach. (photo courtesy of Terrence Diego's Facebook.)

A recent photo of Terrence Diego relaxing at the beach. (photo courtesy of Terrence Diego’s Facebook.)

You don’t have to be an athlete to face tough challenges, life does a pretty good job at challenging you enough already. When life hits you with a challenge, not matter how tough, the way you respond often tells the story of your character. For one man, the toughest challenge he ever had to face has now presented a life changing experience and a commitment for a healthier lifestyle.

24-year-old and 2007 graduate from FD Terrence “Rence” Diego was involved in a head-on car collision earlier in 2013 and was hospitalized with a broken right hand, several broken bones in his right rib cage, a collapsed right lung, a shattered left femur, and abrasions and shattered glass evenly spread throughout his body.

“What was more immediate and problematic was my selfishness towards the matter. I kept asking ‘why did this happen to me and why am I in pain?’ and ‘How long will I be unable to do the things I love?'” said Diego on his instant reactions from the accident.

Diego had been a large man for most of his life, tipping the scale at his highest weight of 350 lbs, or more he said. Diego was on the weight loss track before the accident, but the life changing experience hit him harder than anything ever before and Diego is clearly not the same size he used to be.

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An array of photos from Diego displaying his toughest challenges and his greatest supports in the past year. (photos courtesy of Terrence Diego’s Facebook.)

He has committed to a healthier lifestyle and exercises everyday for at least an hour to help him stay in the best shape of his life.

Sports has always played a big part in Diego’s life, and for a large man, he always stayed active by playing basketball, hiking, and playing table tennis for fun. He now finds himself more able to tackle obstacles his weight prevented him from being able to do.

“Initially it did affect me. Shooting a basketball from a wheelchair was quite the eye-opener for me. Little by little I kept inching toward the things I wanted to do. When a doctor tells you ‘recovery time should be about one year,’ he sets off an unexplainable starvation for the things you love to do. You get used to crying till you sleep. GOD would have me come to terms with my selfishness. He would humble me through pain and this realization of my selfishness. Still searching for #Humility.”

He prefers not to share his exact weight now, but there is no mistaking the difference.

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An old photo of 2012 before Diego decided to commit to fitness and a healthier lifestyle. (courtesy of Terrence Diego’s Facebook.)

“I would like to keep my current weight undisclosed mostly because revealing it might set a limit on others should they try and lose weight,” Diego laughed.

This means that he doesn’t want people to target a certain weight and instead make a lifestyle change rather than aim for just a number on a scale.

Diego has been more active and has shared that he is capable to do more than ever before. Though, the word ‘limit’ is not one he’s fond of given his life experiences.

“I try to exercise 5 times a week for at least one hour; running, biking, swimming, weight lifting, and play some pick-up ball. For my initial injuries, I was in a bed/wheel chair for a couple months and crutches/cane for a couple more. I do not consider myself a serious athlete but I know for a fact that they hate the term ‘limit’. My only regret is and continues to be not trusting in God enough. I have often found myself saying ‘I can’t believe I just did that’ and ‘I thought I’d never be able to do that.”

A larger part of the recovery process, and will to lose weight in general, was due in large part to Diego’s family and a healthy wave of religion.

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A recent photo of Rence and mother Lynn Diego sharing a run. (photo courtesy of Terrence Diego’s Facebook.)

“If you can fathom this, let it be known that my family played an even bigger role than I did in my process; Weight loss/accident recovery, EVERYTHING. My brother Gavin questioned ‘how can we be preachers of the gospels if we cannot even take care of our bodies; the temple of the Holy Spirit?’ which first inspired the weight loss.”

The ties Rence Diego shares with his family go unmeasurable.

“Then the accident happened. My mother, father and two younger brothers did everything for me, from simple tasks to the delicate ones. They’ve wiped sweat, blood and tears from me. The unconditional love, care and humility of my family is a whole interview on it’s own. They were the recovery process.”

Diego is almost unrecognizable today, looking like a new man every time he’s done working out. The accident was the toughest challenge Diego has ever been faced with, but the way he’s dealt with it has made him tenfolds stronger. Don’t feel sorry for Diego, but instead be inspired.

He’s on the fast track towards being fit and healthy and he’s not waiting for anyone to tell him otherwise.

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1LT Belizabeth Nicole V. Rengiil is known to be the first female from Guam and Palau to make the All-Army Women’s Rugby Team. She is an active duty Signal Officer with the US Army and is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Her team won the Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship with a 4-0 record.
Belizabeth is the daughter of Edwin and Juliana Rengiil with siblings Johanna and Edwin-Isaiah Rengiil from Mangilao.
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