Viral photo of 21-year-old with lung disease lifting weights will inspire you to dream big

Jared Wells, 21, is sharing his fitness journey after battling lung cancer. (Photo: Body Alive via Facebook)

A photo of a young man with cystic fibrosis is inspiring people on the internet to conquer their fitness goals — and to think twice before passing judgment.

Gym owner Bob Donnelly from Utica, N.Y., recently shared a photo of his son’s friend Jared Wells lifting weights. Anticipating “wise cracks” from his Body Alive Facebook community, he noted in his post that Wells, who dreams of becoming a bodybuilder, has been fighting cystic fibrosis but was just given the go-ahead by his doctors to work out. “Today his arm measured 8 1/4 inches and his legs just over 12″. And he’s at ZERO % body fat. I’m taking him under my wing. Stay tuned for Jared’s progress,” Donnelly wrote.

Instead of jokes about Wells’s weight, commenters — a few thousand of them at that — have heaped praise on the young man.

“You already did something amazing, and you can do something small like this in comparison,” one person wrote, “please keep us updated.” While another passed along prayers for “continued healing and ‘gains’ as my boys like to call it.”

And after just one week in the gym, Wells began to see those gains.

Donnelly’s son made a GoFundMe page for Wells in response to the viral picture. The money raised so far has been used to buy vitamins and protein shakes, and Wells has since gained 2 pounds. 

From photos of Wells’s workouts, to even sharing what he’s eating after the gym, Donnelly is keeping everyone up-to-date on the young man’s progress in hopes of inspiring others who may want to chase after similar goals. And if you’re looking to follow Wells’s journey from his own perspective, he recently created his own Instagram account for people to do just that.

In his most recent update, Wells shared that he’s gained 5 pounds, allowing people to see just how life-changing this journey has already been.

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